Break in deep freeze

CATHY SPAULDING/Muskogee Phoenix

Workers scan for underground water lines under Main Street and Okmulgee Avenue before doing repairs Thursday morning.

Muskogee could break above freezing for the first time in more than a week Friday.

According to AccuWeather, highs Friday could reach 35 degrees with a "real feel" of 34 degrees, both above the 32-degree freezing threshold.

OG&E and other electric providers paused their controlled service outages Thursday after the Southwest Power Pool, a regional power grid operator lowered its Energy Emergency Alert.

However, OG&E spokesman Brian Alford said customers are encouraged to conserve on electric usage "until natural gas supplies stabilize."

According to an OG&E media release, the demand for natural gas remains high, and supply is limited.

"There is still a significant potential for the reinstatement of short-term service interruptions," the OG&E release said. "The company is encouraging customers to stay prepared and continue conserving energy as much as they are safely able to do so."

Muskogee County Emergency Management Director Jeff Smith said communities are beginning to have "issues with their water."

"Some of the districts that buy water from Muskogee are beginning to have issues with their water. Some of the towns that have their own water are beginning to have some water issues," Smith said. "It looks like they're getting it sorted out. Issues have been frozen lines, empty water towers. They're hoping to get water restored to their towns. I think some of them are just having low water pressure."

He said that as temperatures go above freezing, crews will see what kind of damage the storm has done to county roads.

City of Muskogee Emergency Management Director Tyler Evans said on Thursday morning that main roads in town were "pretty decent."

"I've been driving around all morning, going to different locations, and for the most part, everything seems to be passable," Evans said Thursday morning. "But the residential roads, we don't really have the manpower to get to."

City road crews now are working regular shifts instead of the 24-hour shifts they had been working the past several days.

"They were working two 12-hour rotations, so they've switched back to regular shifts," Evans said. "Now we're just trying to fix everything that's broke — equipment, water leaks." 

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