ALTUS -- Icy bridges and icy car doors were the order of the day this morning across Southwest Oklahoma as the Altus area sat on the southern edge of a massive ice and snowstorm that spread across the Great Plains and Midwest.
The weather may have contributed to a fatal accident in southern Jackson County this morning.
A woman died this morning in a three vehicle accident on state Highway 6 on the Red River bridge at the state line, according to a Highway Patrol spokeswoman.
Officials were still on the scene at press time working the fatality, which occurred about 6:40 a.m., the spokeswoman said, adding that one injured victim was taken by ambulance to Wichita Falls, Texas.
Beginning at about 6 a.m., she said, cars slipped and slid into at least five fender-benders -- three in Jackson County, one in Greer County and another in Tillman County.
Altus police responded to a number of weather related calls, including one from a woman in Camelot Mobile Home Park whose front door froze shut while she was outside.
The ice storm froze roadways and power lines across a wide section of Oklahoma, sending cars sliding into ditches, causing power outages affecting more than 8,000 homes and forcing schools to cancel classes.
In Broken Arrow, five people died in a traffic accident on rain-slickened Oklahoma 51. Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers said rainy weather was believed to have contributed to the accident in which a sedan spun out of control and was hit by an oncoming pickup truck. All of those killed were in the sedan.
Freezing rain started falling in northwestern Oklahoma by midafternoon Tuesday and rained well into the night. The storm moved south and east over night and moved into the populous central portion of the state, where temperatures dropped into the 20s.
''It's a solid block of ice,'' said Casey Keylon, a dispatcher for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in Guymon.
Keylon said troopers worked about 10 accidents, but none were fatal and no one was seriously injured. Several accidents were reported during morning rush hour in Oklahoma City.
''The roads are getting really iced over from the sleet that's falling and underneath that, whatever's on the ground is starting to freeze,'' Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Brandon Kopepasah said.
He was in a traffic accident on a bridge in Oklahoma City Wednesday.
''A vehicle wasn't able to stop and it hit the back of my unit,'' he said. ''It's just one of those things.''
The freezing rain iced power lines and caused utility poles to buckle and tree limbs to snap, causing power outages affecting 8,400 residences, many in the northwest section of the state, said Michelann Ooten, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. In some cases, wind and the weight of ice pulled trees out of the ground.
Karen Carney, a spokeswoman for Will Rogers World Airport, said runways were treated with a de-icing solution and were operational. Some minor flight delays were caused by aircraft de-icing operations. There were also flight cancellations because of poor weather in Chicago and Denver.
In some places more than a half-inch of ice had accumulated on power lines.
In Enid, residents were stocking up before the storm hit, but generators were in short supply.
Doby Webb, assistant manager at Atwoods store in Enid, said people were buying things to help keep them warm.
''Heaters, generators, anything that doesn't have to be plugged in,'' Webb said. ''If there is a plug on it, they won't buy it.'' Webb said.
The store was out of several brands of heaters, he said.
''There may be a truck on the way with generators on it, but it's coming from the north so it's a long trip.''
An ice storm at the end of January 2002 left 195,000 OG&E customers in northwestern, northern, and central Oklahoma without power and did more than $90 million in damage. It was the worst storm in OG&E's 102-year history in terms of cost and customers affected.
Sunshine was expected to return to some parts of the state by Thursday, with temperatures climbing above freezing Friday and melting off any remaining ice.
On the Net:
Oklahoma Gas & Electric: http://www.oge.com/systemwatch/
Oklahoma Department of Public Safety: http://www.dps.state.ok.us./cgi-bin/weathermap.cgi