More than a million people shivered in ice-bound homes across the country Wednesday, waiting for utility crews to restring power lines brought down by a storm that killed at least 23 as it took a snowy, icy journey from the Southern Plains to the East Coast.
But with temperatures plunging, utility officials warned it could be mid-February before electricity is restored to some of the hardest-hit places. The worst of the power failures were in Kentucky, Arkansas and Ohio.
Just getting to their source was difficult for utility crews. Ice-encrusted tree limbs and power lines blocked glazed roads, and the sound of cracking limbs pierced the air like popping gunfire.
The number of homes and businesses without power totaled about 1.4 million Wednesday evening, in a swath of states from Oklahoma to West Virginia. The actual number of people affected could be much higher.
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Since the storm began building Monday, the weather has been blamed for at least six deaths in Texas, four in Arkansas, three in Virginia, six in Missouri, two in Oklahoma, and one each in Indiana and Ohio. Some parts of New England were expected to see well over a foot of snow, but because the storm turned to snow, ice-related power outages weren't as big of a concern.