(Cushing) — Utility crews working to restore power have made substantial progress in the last 24 hours in restoring power to areas hit by the ice storm this week, but still face challenges in getting the job done. The National Weather Service is predicting 2-4 inches of snow by Saturday morning, and more inclement weather will likely complicate the situation. Cushing Electric crews were able to restore power to areas along ninth street that had been without since Sunday night. Cushing Fire Chief Brent Kerr estimated that 30 per cent of Cushing Utility Customers were still without service, but believes that number will drop substantially in the next two days.

OG&E crews made substantial gains today as well, getting a main transmission line that runs along SH 33 and several substations in the area up. That restored power to a good portion of Drumright and areas west toward Cushing.

Indian Electric Cooperative has also made progress, but much of Dripping Springs on Norfolk road was still in the dark tonight.

Central Rural Electric Cooperative crews continue to find structure damage to the CREC system. Spokesman Larry Mattox issued a statement today saying three quarters of the damage to the CREC system was in Lincoln County.

Here is the daily briefing issued by CREC:

THURSDAY 3:00 P.M. – We appreciate the cooperation and patience of our members as our crews work diligently to restore your electricity. The number of members without power has been reduced from 3500 to 1,800. The number of poles down reached 325, more than 100 new poles have been set leaving 225 to be replaced. We are still finding structure damage. Much progress has been made throughout the system yesterday and today. In our service area, Lincoln County was the hardest hit receiving around 75 percent of the total damage. Oklahoma County received around 20 percent of the damage, with Payne and Logan following. Members living in Lincoln and Oklahoma County will likely be without power throughout the weekend and possibly into next week depending on weather conditions. Snow forecasted for this weekend could extend outage times and slow progress. Any damaged secondary line extending past the meter should be fixed by a licensed electrician. Members should use extreme caution when surveying damage and should not attempt to fix problems themselves.

Shelters remain open in Cushing, Yale, Drumright, Agra and Perkins.

School will remain closed in Cushing and Yale for Friday, but Cushing is still scheduled to host Mannford in a basketball game Friday night.

The cleanup process is underway, with residents working to trim and remove damaged trees. Cushing Utility Customers can take tree limbs to Cushing Regional Airport between 7:00AM and 4:30 PM Monday through Saturday, and from 1-4:30 Sunday. The service is being provided for tree limbs only, and no household waste will be allowed.

And State Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland has set up a hotline for people who are having difficulty contacting their insurance carriers. Property owners may call the insurance hot line at 405/521-2828 if they have not been able to contact their insurance company or agent.

Perhaps the best news of all is the midweek forecast for the area….partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 50s are expected by Tuesday.