Thousands still without power in Mo.

Other News Materials 15 February 2008 03:44 (UTC +04:00)

( AP )- National Guard troops went door-to-door in parts of southeast Missouri on Thursday, checking on the welfare of residents facing a third day without power after a severe ice storm.

Gov. Matt Blunt sent 30 Guard troops to Cape Girardeau and Bollinger counties, taking advantage of a period of warmer weather Thursday that wasn't expect to last.

Temperatures were expected to reach about 50 degrees on Thursday, but forecasts called for highs in the 20s and 30s on Friday with the possibility of another storm over the weekend.

Thousands of outages were reported around the state. Among them were two nursing homes in Bollinger County that were being heated by generators. In southwest Missouri, nearly 15,000 outages were reported. Ameren said some outages may extend into Friday.

"With these extensive resources, along with improved weather, we expect to make good progress," said Jean Mason, manager of Ameren's SEMO Division.

Springfield utility officials cautioned that melting ice and gusty winds could cause power lines suddenly freed of heavy ice to "rebound," snapping the lines or causing them to cross other lines. Brisk winds of up to 30 mph were also a concern in southeast Missouri.

Shelters remained open in several counties for both warming and overnight stays.

Two traffic deaths and dozens of injuries have been blamed on the storm, which dropped an inch of ice and 2 inches of sleet in some regions of the state.

The storm was reminiscent of a November 2006 ice storm that caused outages to about 500,000 Ameren customers in Missouri and Illinois. Some customers were without power for a week as Ameren brought in crews from other power companies in other states to help out.