Power may be out for weeks in South

At least one million homes were without power after winter storm.


"There are a lot of folks, we have no doubt, that would freeze to death. We have seen that in years past."

—Nina Moseley, Wayside Christian Mission

A winter blast that stretched from Texas to Maine left 17 dead this week and a million homes without power. The storm dumped snow and ice on the mid-south and mid-Atlantic regions while turning to pure snowfall for the northeast.

Hundreds of thousands were still without power in Kentucky on Thursday where the winter storm left some looking for shelter. Dozens of emergency shelters were opened across the state to help people without power get into a warm building.

The storm also left homeless residents in Louisville looking to get off of the streets for a night.

"We had about 594 [homeless] under our roof [Monday night}," said Nina Moseley, chief operating officer of Wayside Christian Mission.

The Wayside Christian Mission, located in Louisville, Ky., customarily houses about 500 men, women and children each night but can stretch accommodations to 650 if needed. According to Moseley, the mission is under Operation White Flag, which goes into effect on nights in which temperatures fall below 35 degrees.

"What's unique about us in this area is that we run a Samaritan patrol. We have volunteers who take a jeep out every night to look for the homeless and encourage them to come into our shelter. If they won't come into the shelter, we leave hot coffee and sandwiches for them," Moseley said. "If they do come into the shelter, that's when our caseworkers can work with them and find out what they need."

Moseley said having shelters in Louisville is very important for the safety of the homeless.

"There are a lot of folks, we have no doubt, that would freeze to death. We have seen that in years past."

Three governors declared their entire states disaster areas during the storm Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky. Authorities in Oklahoma say they had 1,150 accidents with two fatalities and 200 of those accidents included injury. Arkansas has also declared a state of emergency after ice hit the northern half of the state, leaving thousands without power. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe said he hoped the disaster declaration would speed up the recovery process.

So far, there have been no damage estimates from the storms, but residents said it looked like a tornado had hit their communities after tree branches weighed down by ice began breaking and causing the power outages.

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