TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) -- The view from an Arkansas highway was stunning -- hundreds of ice-laden pine trees glimmering in the afternoon sun.
The view from Wayne and Norma Murray's Texarkana home was less picturesque -- an oak tree wedged against the roof above their bedroom, its root ball, the size of a Volkswagen beetle, pulled from the ground.
"We always thought that if that tree ever did fall, it would fall right on our room," Mrs. Murray said. "I guess we won't have to worry about that tree anymore."
Thursday marked the fourth day the Murrays and thousands of others across the south-central United States spent without electricity, learning to make the best of a miserable situation. Since Christmas Eve, icy storms have snapped tree limbs and knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
President Clinton declared federal disaster areas Thursday in Oklahoma and parts of his home state of Arkansas. About 210,000 electric customers in Arkansas and 166,000 in Oklahoma were without power Thursday night.
Clinton made the Arkansas declaration after speaking with Federal Emergency Management Agency Director James Lee Witt, who was himself without water and electricity as he spent the holidays at his western Arkansas farm.
Witt said he was drinking bottled water, using runoff water to flush a commode, and showering at nearby truck stops.
"I tried to get Washington to send me a generator, but apparently I don't have enough pull," he joked.
Arkansas electricity customers have been told that it could be Jan. 6 before all power is back on, while in Oklahoma some estimates reach as long as two weeks.
"It's realistic," Scott McCloud, a spokesman for AEP-Southwestern Electric Power, said of the estimates.
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