Crippling Ice Storm Sweeps Heartland

The digging out continued across much of the heartland Sunday after a crippling ice storm last week killed at least 42 people. Nearly 700,000 people in five states are still without power, including hard-hit Kentucky, which has mobilized its entire National Guard, reports CBS News correspondent Hari Sreenivasan.

Kentucky is picking up the pieces from a storm unlike any it has ever seen.

"Obviously we are in the middle of the biggest natural disaster that this state has ever experienced in modern history," says Governor Steve Beshear.

A solid layer of ice that coated almost everything weighed enough to bring down even the largest tree limbs. With those limbs came power lines. Though utility crews have been working around the clock, Louisville residents like Woody Miller have been without power for five days.

"We've endured since then and just roughed it out like the pioneers," Miller says.

At one point, the Miller home got down to 36 degrees, and all they could do was pile on the blankets.

"Body heat generates a lot of warmth," Miller says.

When the lights went out Jamie Gunnels was not taking chances. She took her toddler Ashton straight to the local Red Cross shelter.

"We've been here since late Wednesday night," Gunnels says. "Wow. Yeah, I'm sleepy."

At least 6,000 people across Kentucky are staying in shelters.

"There's been quite a few people that have been leaving because they got power back so we're hoping that it's soon," Gunnels says.

Throughout the state, 91 counties and 69 cities have declared states of emergencies.

Every National Guard member in the state has been called up. They are helping clear roadways and going door-to-door throughout rural Kentucky to check on those who are still in their homes.

Temperatures are slowly warming up and the state is thawing out, but the effects of this ice storm are far from over.

The temperatures were in the low fifties on Sunday, Sreenivasan reports, so the ice that weighed enough to crack tree limbs off has melted, and since there is no significant precipitation in the forecast, the people here just have to make it the latter part of this week when temperatures are expected to climb.
By Hari Sreenivasan