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Approaching storm could complicate power restoration in Okla., Kan.; Northwest cleans up

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Another wintry blast was forecast Friday for the nation’s midsection, where hundreds of thousands are still in the dark after a deadly ice storm brought down power lines, snapped trees and coated roads.
    The system could complicate restoration efforts to the some 355,000 homes and businesses in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri still without power after the first storm darkened 1 million customers at its height earlier this week.
    ‘‘If this turns out to be a heavy snow event, especially a wet snow, that’s going to cause a lot of problems,’’ said Sid Sperry of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives.
    Between 2 and 6 inches of snow was predicted for parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, said Ken Harding, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Topeka, Kan. The National Weather Service issued winter weather watches for the northwest two-thirds of Oklahoma from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning.
    In Missouri, the weather service said two waves of snow Friday night and Saturday could dump up to 7 inches.
    Many emergency shelters already were filled, with some residents on their fourth or fifth day of waiting for power to return. Kim Harrel has been staying at an American Red Cross shelter in downtown Tulsa since Monday.
    ‘‘It’s a very humbling thing in life,’’ Harrel said, watching her kids play a game of Twister in the gymnasium on Thursday.
    Meanwhile, residents in the Northeast were hard at work Friday shoveling driveways and walkways. As the storm moved east, it changed from ice to snow, and dropped anywhere from two inches to a little more than a foot across the region.
    While it didn’t cause the same problems as it did in the middle of the country, it made travel difficult. Flights were delayed or canceled and the heavy snow snarled traffic with fender-benders from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts.
    Most schools canceled classes, but in Rhode Island, the storm left many Providence children stuck in buses or at school for hours. Mayor David Cicilline demanded an investigation, calling the situation unacceptable.
    Janet McCaulley, a doctor, tried to drive from Boston to work an overnight shift at Cape Cod Hospital, but couldn’t get there. She found a replacement and checked in at a motel for the afternoon.
    ‘‘In just an hour, the roads went from being bare to being covered in snow,’’ McCaulley said.
    David Rose, who owns an auto body and repair shop, expects to be one of the few beneficiaries of the storm.
    ‘‘We’ll have a lot of collision repair, batteries, tires and a lot of things people realize they needed, wipers for the snow,’’ said Rose, whose shop is in Columbia, Conn.
    The region was readying for another major storm this weekend. Harding said the storm heading for Oklahoma will intensify. Starting Sunday night, the system will drop ‘‘huge amounts of snow, probably blizzard conditions in New England,’’ he said.
    More than a foot of snow was predicted for places in Vermont, New Hampshire, upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania.
    ——
    Associated Press Writers Heather Hollingsworth in Kanas City, Mark Jewell in Boston, Cara Rubinsky in Hartford, Conn. and Pat Eaton-Robb in Columbia, Conn. contributed to this report.

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