OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – During ice storms, destruction rains down on neighborhoods one drop at a time. For hours, nothing seems wrong. One drop falls and freezes. The next drop follows, until a light glaze coats tree limbs and parked cars.
For a while, the roads seem immune to the ice, helped by the earth's radiant heat. But in an instant, it all changes. Highway overpasses go from simply wet to ice sheets in a matter of seconds. There are traffic accidents, hundreds of them, almost simultaneously throughout the region. Emergency crews become overwhelmed.
|VIDEO: Wintry blast in Oklahoma|
Still the drops keep falling, and piling up. Here in Oklahoma, three quarters of an inch of ice has coated everything. It's more weight than trees can handle, so their limbs snap, sending hundreds of pounds of wood and ice crashing to the ground.
It sounds like gunfire.
A slow motion disaster, as this tree takes out a power line and that tree crushes a car.
I stood with a man in Norman, Oklahoma, as he watched the giant red oak tree in his front yard destroy itself - and his roof - one branch at a time. It took hours.
In Oklahoma, more than half a million people are suffering through a cold rain without electricity. Officials here say it's the worst blackout in the state's history. For thousands in this state it will be more than a week before power is back on.
With temperatures back above freezing in Oklahoma, the ice has begun to melt, but the cleanup here will take weeks.
Meanwhile, the storm continues moving north and east, bringing even more destruction to some areas – one drop at a time.