McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

December 6, 2013

Locals talk about the weather

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — Some area residents say they are prepared but not too concerned about the storm this week because they’ve been through bad weather before.

On December 25, 2000 an ice storm hit McAlester leaving residents without electricity and water for more than two weeks.

The area was hit again in January 2007 when a second ice storm left the area residents without power and water for more than a week.

Longtime McAlester resident Bill Derichsweiler, 79, said this isn’t his first storm.

“I’ve lived here long enough to know that you have to prepare,” Derichsweiler said.

He said during the last ice storm he used his generator to power up his freezer and to help two other families who were without power.

“I don’t think this one will be as bad as the last ones.”

Derichsweiler said he remembered growing up in North Town during a severe winter storm.

He said his father operated the boiler at the McAlester Ammunition Plant and had to stay at the facility for a week to keep the boiler running.

“They set up a cot for him and the Marines brought in food; Mother and I did fine at home, we had gas and food.”

Meanwhile some area residents who care for both large and small animals say they are also prepared.

Pittsburg County resident and John Turnauckas said this storm is for the birds.

Turnauckas is retired and is an avid bird watcher

“We went to the commissary and stocked up on groceries and I put out plenty of bird feed,” he said.

Rodena Brannick of McAlester said she’s used to cold weather because she grew up in Kansas.

“I was born in west Kansas and we were used to blizzards and going without electricity for weeks at a time.” Brannick said.

She said her husband Steve and their  five dogs are all ready for the storm.

“We have three inside dogs and two outside,” she said.

She made special arrangement for her two outside dogs, Boone and Duke both Great Danes.

“We made sure they have plenty of blankets and we put their dog houses in a shelter we have for them.”

She said she put sweaters on her inside three inside dogs, two bulldogs, Tigger and Gator and a corgi, Riley.

Meanwhile, a Kiowa cattle owner said he is prepared for the storm as well.

Bob Weaver owner of Sun-Up Limousin Ranch in Kiowa said he had one word for the storm based on his past experience, “Yuck.”

Weaver said this time around, he wasn’t too concerned for himself or his wife during this storm but he made sure his cattle had plenty of hay and extra feed available.

“My biggest concern is cattle that are calving, they need to be put in a protected place,” Weaver said.

He said he’s not worried about the cold affecting the rest of his cattle.

“The good Lord made animals to be outside.”

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at