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Ice causes county-wide power outages

Staff writer

The ice came and the power went.

A continual light rain Thursday began to freeze that evening, with temperatures hovering between 25 and 30 degrees over a two-day period Friday and Saturday.

Gina Penzig with Westar Energy said the company experienced about 2,000 power outages in Marion County over the weekend from myriad complications. She said some of those 2,000 may be individuals who lost power more than once.

“It’s a variety of things,” Penzig said. “An ice storm causes a lot of damage to equipment, whether that be power poles and the crossarms, or tree limbs pulling service lines away from the house. It was a wide range of damage.”

Sheriff Rob Craft reported to county commissioners Monday about the outages.

“We’re seeing the big issue is transformers,” Craft said. “We lost a transformer over by Canada, some by Florence. I’m not sure what the cause (of outages) is in Lincolnville. The City of Hillsboro had some go out, Marion had some. It’s been hit and miss. They’ll get it fixed, then it will go out somewhere else.”

By Monday the outages were still being fixed, with 391 customers without power at 10 a.m., and 42 customers still out by 4:30 p.m., according to Westar’s outage map. By Tuesday morning, Marion had fewer than five outages countywide.

Roads were afflicted with ice, too. Commissioner Randy Dallke said he received calls wondering why county roads weren’t treated.

Jesse Hamm with Marion County Road and Bridge said county crews had a truck out sanding curves and intersections. He said crews focused on those areas because they use a dump truck that has to be tipped, so it’s difficult to spread consistent amounts of sand over long stretches of road.

“We don’t really have any treatment as far as ice goes, except that,” Hamm said.

Craft said there were no major accidents caused by ice, but many cars slid off icy roads.

Dallke commended the crews who worked to restore power to county homes.

“They do a good job and they’re out there quickly,” he said. “The sad thing is they can’t do everybody at once, so they’ve got to pick some place to start, which means somebody’s got to be last on the list.”

Temperatures began to rise again Tuesday, with highs reaching into the 50s, where they are forecasted to remain through the weekend.

Last modified Dec. 2, 2015

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