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Midwest facing power outages

More than 95,000 people remained without power in Missouri and Illinois almost a week after a winter storm.

BY HEATHER MOYER | ST. LOUIS, Mo. | December 6, 2006

More than 95,000 people remained without power in Missouri and Illinois Wednesday, now almost a week after a strong winter storm blew through the region.

Officials from the power company Ameren say they have thousands of workers on the job, but it will still take time to complete all the repairs stretching from eastern Missouri up into central Illinois. At one point during the storm, more than 500,000 people were without power.

Last week's winter storm claimed 11 lives in Missouri, and another five deaths are being investigated as caused by the cold weather.

According to a Missouri Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) news release, "officials expressed major concern about citizens using alternate heating sources not designed for indoor use. Numerous people have died or have been hospitalized, as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Local fire and health officials, as well as retailers selling alternate heating sources, are encouraged to remind people about safe practices to heat their homes in the event of a power loss."

St. Louis hospitals report treating more than 50 cases of hypothermia. There are also reports of carbon monoxide poisoning in both states. Shelters and warming centers remain open in some Missouri and Illinois counties.

The winter storm that hit last Thursday and Friday dropped more than a foot of snow in some parts of Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas. Across all the affected states, officials are reporting a total of 19 dead due to the storms.

The state has also supplied affected nursing home facilities with generators and distributed emergency supplies such as blankets and food to other sites.

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