Slick road conditions forced school closings all across the coverage area, as well as numerous cancellations and postponements Tuesday and Wednesday. However, by far the biggest issue related to the storm has been the toll it has taken on the power lines.
Rick Nelson of Custer Public Power District reports the trouble began early, with his first crew getting called out shortly after midnight Tuesday morning. The crew was out all day Tuesday, working outages in the Taylor area and the Anselmo area.
Nelson says Anselmo was hit hard, with numerous tree problems and downed lines. Residents there were without power all day Tuesday. Callaway, Arnold and the West Table were also hit hard by the winds and ice with many residents losing power.
CPPD crews remained out in force until 4 a.m. Wednesday, Nelson said, when they took a break for a short nap before heading back out. They had the problem north of Arnold fixed, but it went back down again early Wednesday morning.
The crews were close to having the issues on the West Table resolved, but got called away Wednesday morning when a transmission line took a heavy hit. Nelson says a line came down about 8:30 Wednesday morning and burnt a conductor, resulting in power outages in Merna, Bartak, Ortello, Gates, Anselmo and Dunning substations. As of press time those residents were still without power.
“The problem is the ice is so hard it has our switches iced over,” said Nelson. “Our crews are working right now trying to get that ice chipped off and get people back on.”
Nelson says the forecasted wind and cold temperatures for Wednesday and Thursday were not going to help the situation at all.
“We don’t anticipate this ending until Friday, when it finally warms back up,” Nelson says.
He says customers will likely experience blinking lights over the next 24 to 48 hours as crews work to restore power to the hard hit areas. Nelson also reminds customers to please unplug any appliances or electrical devices in your homes that are not currently being used to help lessen the load.