Archive for Sunday, February 1, 2009

Full Army National Guard deployed for storm cleanup

Gail Hatchett picks snow, ice and glass out of the back of her car after a tree limb smashed her back window during a recent ice storm Saturday in Draffenville, Ky. The storm left thousands in the area, including Hatchett, without power.

Gail Hatchett picks snow, ice and glass out of the back of her car after a tree limb smashed her back window during a recent ice storm Saturday in Draffenville, Ky. The storm left thousands in the area, including Hatchett, without power.

February 1, 2009

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— Gov. Steve Beshear deployed every last one of his Army National Guardsmen on Saturday, with his state still reeling after a deadly ice storm encrusted it this week.

More than half a million homes and businesses, most of them in Kentucky, remained without electricity from the Ozarks through Appalachia, though temperatures creeping into the 40s helped a swarm of utility workers make headway. Finding fuel — heating oil along with gas for cars and generators — was another struggle for those trying to tough it out at home, with hospitals and other essential services getting priority over members of the public.

The addition of 3,000 soldiers and airmen makes 4,600 Guardsmen pressed into service. It’s the largest call-up in Kentucky history, which Beshear called an appropriate response to a storm that cut power to more than 700,000 homes and businesses, the state’s largest outage on record. Many people in rural areas cannot get out of their driveways because of debris and have no phone service, the governor said.

“With the length of this disaster and what we’re expecting to be a multi-day process here, we’re concerned about the lives and the safety of our people in their own homes,” Beshear said, “and we need the manpower in some of the rural areas to go door-to-door and do a door-to-door canvass ... and make sure they’re OK.”

Staff Sgt. Erick Duncan of Murray said he and his colleagues have been putting in long shifts to open tree-littered roads. Duncan, who manned a chain saw, said he expects the assignment to last quite a while.

“It’s a mess and we’re just in the city limits,” he said. “We’re not even out in the county yet. And there’s plenty of cities and counties to go to.”

Thousands of people were staying in motels and shelters, asked to leave their homes by authorities who said emergency teams in some areas were too strapped to reach everyone in need of food, water and warmth. The outages disabled water systems, and authorities warned it could be days or weeks before power was restored in the most remote spots.

The storm that began in the Midwest had been blamed or suspected in at least 42 deaths, including at least 11 in Kentucky, nine in Arkansas, six each in Texas and Missouri, three in Virginia, two each in Oklahoma, Indiana and West Virginia and one in Ohio. Most were blamed on hypothermia, traffic accidents and carbon monoxide poisoning.

In Kentucky, Beshear confirmed seven deaths late Saturday were a result of the storm and said officials were checking several others.

Comments

jmadison 6 years, 6 months ago

Where is FEMA? No mention in this article of any help by the federal government in managing this crisis.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

There have been complaints that FEMA has been ineffective during this crisis. Hopefully, Obama will make it a priority to fix FEMA, which was intentionally crippled under BushCo.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 6 months ago

The O'dude can't be bothered with fly-over country like Kentucky. They must not have payed-to-play.

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