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US Plains ice storm leaves 270,000 without power

NEW YORK, Dec 10 (Reuters) - An ice storm knocked out power to more than 270,000 customers in the Central Plains and Midwest on Sunday and Monday, local power companies reported Monday morning.

The system entered Oklahoma early Sunday, bringing freezing rain that caused significant ice accumulation on trees and overhead power lines. The weight of the ice downed tree branches and power lines, cutting power.

That system has now moved into Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.

In Oklahoma, the state's two biggest utilities, OGE Energy Corp's OGE.N Oklahoma Gas & Electric and American Electric Power Co Inc's AEP.N Public Service Co of Oklahoma, reported about 141,000 and 31,300 customer outages, respectively.

The Oklahoma utilities noted they were bringing in crews from other states to assist with restoration.

In Kansas and Missouri, a spokeswoman for Empire District Electric Co EDE.N, the hardest-hit power company in Kansas, said Monday morning the utility had more than 58,000 customers without power and the numbers were still growing as the storm continues to batter its territory.

The Empire District Electric spokeswoman said the company had urged its customers to prepare for the possibility of several days without power since the utility could not at this time estimate when it could start restoring service.

Other utilities with significant outages Monday morning include Ameren Corp AEE.N with about 30,000 in Missouri and about 11,000 in Illinois, and Westar Energy Inc WR.N with about 5,000 in Kansas.

Over the next day or so, meteorologists expect the storm to move across Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, likely knocking out more customers as it moves. (Reporting by Scott DiSavino, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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