Wind Storm Knocks Out Power for Nearly 1,400 Members
An early storm on Tuesday, June 9 wreaked havoc near Mount Vernon and Stickney. Local residents took shelter between 6:00 – 6:30 A.M. as straight-line winds brought down power poles, lines, grain bins, sheds, uprooted whole trees, and damaged homes and equipment.
Nearly 1,400 Central Electric Cooperative members were out of power, as well as the town of Mount Vernon, following the storm. As Central Electric surveyed the damage, crews quickly determined they had over 100 broken poles from the strong winds. Wholesale power supplier East River Electric Cooperative and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) also sustained significant damage to transmission lines in the area. Edinger Brothers Partnership measured wind speeds of 94 miles per hour near their grain bin site just north of Mount Vernon.
“After a storm like this, our first goal is to make sure downed lines are de-energized to keep everyone safe,” said Brian Bultje, Manager of Operations. “Then, we begin restoring power based on which lines will bring on the most amount of people and work from there.”
Tuesday morning, crews prioritized clearing power lines off of roads, including Interstate 90 and Highway 16 near Mount Vernon, in order to allow traffic to safely pass. By Tuesday evening, all but approximately 100 members were restored, and these members went without power overnight. By Wednesday evening just short of 10:45 P.M., all residences had power again after being out for up to 40 hours. In addition to their 23 linemen, Central Electric called in an additional 30 line workers from Highline Construction to assist with repairs.
In addition to the high winds, area residents reported three to four inches or more in their rain gauges. Wet, saturated roads challenged power crews, residents, and farmers as they drove around to restore power, check crops or pasture. Many roads needed to be temporarily closed to clear power poles, line or debris from the area or due to deteriorating road conditions.
Central Electric will continue to make permanent repairs to power lines over the next couple weeks, as many temporary fixes were made to restore power as quickly as possible. WAPA plans to complete repairs to its line east of Stickney within the next 2-3 weeks as well.