Miami residents are expected to see progress today as juice begins to flow back onto portions of the city's power grid.
Utility crews from Texas and Arkansas moved seamlessly through a large portion of the city's northeast side Tuesday, restoring power to lines that service nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, the Department of Health and housing developments for the elderly
Crews also continue to move methodically through the city's northwest quadrant - an area deemed to be the hardest hit by the recent ice storm.
Local utility officials praised the work of the contracted crews who have come to assist Miami through recovery from what - as of Tuesday - is the city's third disastrous weather event of 2007.
“They are well-oiled machines,” said Tim Wilson, the city's public works director. “It is impressive.”
The utility crews are working in concert with tree-trimming crews who are working ahead of the utility workers, clearing lines and debris to improve the likelihood that power service will be consistent - provided that limbs do not continue to fall.
Power on the south side of town is hindered by a breaker problem, according to Miami Utility Superintendent Dave Matthews. Lines are in place, but the breaker is prohibiting sustained restoration.
City officials are still making no guesses about when power will be fully restored to all residents.
As utility work continues to be the priority, city officials are now seeing the residual effects of melting ice and long-term power outages.
The wastewater treatment facility is nearing its capacity due to the inundation of water from melting ice and recent rain.
The absence of power in areas with lift stations is compounding the problem.
“We have to monitor this,” City Manager Michael Spurgeon said.
In the even that the city's holding ponds begin to overflow, arrangements can be made for direct flow into the river, according to city engineer Jerry Ruse.
“It is not uncommon,” Ruse said. “Not when you have this kind of emergency.”
Shelters remain in place in Miami, Commerce, Picher and Wyandotte. A fourth site was declared Tuesday as the Red Cross added a Welch location.
Red Cross Service Center Director Tammie Lewis, who is overseeing the shelter operation set up at the First Assembly of God Church in Miami, announced Tuesday that the Red Cross shelter is still in “shelter phase” and has not yet been given the directive to move into the case-work phase yet.
“We are still very much in the ‘shelter' phase,” Lewis said. “Shelters are popping up everywhere in northeast Oklahoma and people are still seeking shelter. (Tuesday), we had 150 people in the Miami shelter.”