MARION, Ky. - A crippling winter storm has plunged about a million customers into the dark from the Midwest to the East Coast, and thousands of people in ice-caked Kentucky have sought refuge in motels and shelters.
Dozens of deaths have been reported and many people are pleading for a faster response to the power outages. Some in rural Kentucky ran short of food and bottled water, and resorted to dipping buckets in a creek.
Thousands fled frigid, powerless homes for hotels and even a heated auditorium at Murray State University that was converted into a shelter following Monday's storm that left some areas in up to 1 inch ice.
Utility workers hoped to speed up efforts Saturday to turn the lights back on. Still, rural communities feared it could be days or even weeks before workers got to areas littered with downed power lines….
Local officials grew angrier at what they said was a lack of help from the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In Kentucky's Grayson County, about 80 miles southwest of Louisville, Emergency Management Director Randell Smith said the 25 National Guardsmen who have responded have no chain saws to clear fallen trees. He said roads are littered with fallen trees and people shivering in bone-chilling cold are in need.
"We've got people out in some areas we haven't even visited yet," Smith said. "We don't even know that they're alive."
Smith said FEMA was still a no-show days after the storm.
"I'm not saying we can't handle it," Smith said. "We're handling it. But it sure would have made life a lot easier."