OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — With the power out and an electric water pump silenced, Shannon Wickware and a house full of relatives had only to fetch a pile of snow from outside whenever they got thirsty. There is plenty of it to go around.
"It's just snow. That's all we can see," Wickware said Tuesday from her home at Woodward in northwest Oklahoma, which received 15 inches of snow during a blizzard on Monday. "We've been trying to melt snow and drinking that. And we've been just trying to keep the fire going."
The sun poked out Tuesday across northwestern Oklahoma, which was among several areas across the Southern Plains and Midwest to receive a foot of snow from a winter storm the pulled out of the Rocky Mountains on Sunday. The weight of the snow collapsed a roof at a Woodward home, killing a 71-year-old man.
Wickware's husband, a firefighter, had spent part of the storm trying to help others, including firefighters who had gotten stuck in the bad weather, but the windy storm built a wall of snow he and his wife's brother-in-law couldn't breach.
"They didn't even make it down our county road before they got stuck and had to walk back," Wickware said.
Widespread power outages, particularly around Woodward and Enid, were a persistent obstacle into Tuesday for residents digging themselves out.
Lissie King, the owner of an Enid bed and breakfast, said she hadn't been able to get out of her house to check on her guests, who had been without power since Monday evening.
"I don't know what they did," King said.
Ann Smith, 69, said people were venturing out in the western Oklahoma town of Elk City, as power crews worked to restore electricity to 2,000.
"I just looked out and there's a car going down lickety-split," Smith, who owns a bed and breakfast, said with a laugh. "The sun's shining. It's gorgeous."
Wickware said her family's spirits also were high, with a small generator to run the refrigerator and a toaster through the day. At 6 p.m. — more than 24 hours since blackout — she said her power had just returned, the cheers of the family's four total children audible in the background.
"My family's freaking out," Wickware said with a laugh, adding she could now cook dinner for her family. "That feels really good."