UPDATE: 120,000 still without power in southern Missouri

Thursday, January 29, 2009 | 9:58 a.m. CST; updated 10:40 a.m. CST, Thursday, January 29, 2009

ST. LOUIS — Nearly 120,000 homes and businesses in Missouri are still without power and many could remain in the dark for days to come.

A two-day winter storm dumped snow, sleet and ice over much of the state, but an area south of Interstate 44 and the Bootheel region were hardest hit. Six deaths were blamed on the weather — five in accidents on slick roads and one case of hypothermia.

As of Thursday morning, utilities reported 119,449 homes and businesses still without electricity. The count rose Wednesday when the Missouri Public Utilities Association reported 25,000 outages.

The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives reported 60,200 outages Thursday morning. AmerenUE says nearly 35,000 customers are without service, most of them in the Bootheel.

Utilities said it could be next week before all the lights — and heat — are back on.

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