McAlester residents prepares for ice storm, reflect on past storms

MCALESTER, Okla. - Ask any McAlester area residents about the biggest winter storm to ever hit town and the responses usually vary.

"2003 I believe. Yeah, 2003 was the big one," said Dan Black.

"I think it was in 2000, maybe 2001 we had a really bad one down here," answered Tracy Adam.

Another resident mentions the storms of 2000 and 2006.

Another names a winter storm in 2007.

While the dates diminish from memory with each passing year, the experience of living through the storms never fades.

"It was miserable," recalled Adam.

Adam owns the True Value hardware store on the south side of town.

He remembers working all day and night to provide supplies to residents hit hard by one of the storms.

"We had residents living in cars and it was awful," said Adam.

That storm, and a few others like it, impacted residents for days.

"No power. This town basically shut down," said Matt Warnock.

"I don't want to go through that again," said Black.

As another storm approaches, many residents are spending the hours ahead stocking up on supplies at area stores.

"When they start hollering ice, people start coming in and start getting prepared for it," said Atwoods manager Willie Huckabee.

Huckabee said ice melt, hand warmers and other winter-related products were selling quickly on Wednesday.

Warnock and his family bought a new heater.

"They're talking about losing electricity so getting my gas heater," said Warnock."Lots of ice fixin' to hit."

A few moments later in the same store, Black, a resident from Eufaula, located 30 minutes north of McAlester, purchased a generator.

"I hope for the best but preparing for the worst," said Black.

Both Atwoods and True Value plan to remain open through the storms.

PSO will begin staging extra crews in the McAlester area on Thursday, in case of power outages.

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