Utility crews made some progress Friday in restoring power to the more than 1.3 million homes and businesses darkened by an ice storm that crippled states from Missouri to West Virginia, but thousands were still bunking in shelters because their homes had no water or heat.
At Murray University in southwestern Kentucky, brothers Jim McClung, 42, and Dale Earnest, 38, were among those resting in a university theater. They, like many others, ran out of food and water at their frigid, powerless home.
Utility companies struggled into Friday morning as they worked to restore power, but warned it may not return until today at the earliest. It could take until mid-February for some to come back online in the hardest-hit areas of Kentucky and Arkansas.
“I know everybody, including myself, would like this to be over today, tomorrow or yesterday,” said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who toured some of the damage Thursday. “It's going to take several days, if not weeks, to dig our way through all of this all across the state.”
About 60,000 had power restored since Thursday, and with warmer temperatures predicted for the weekend, crews could make “substantial progress” in the next few days, said Public Service Commission spokesman Andrew Melnykovich.
Since the storm began Monday, the weather has been blamed for at least 42 deaths.