Local power outages remain after destructive Sunday storms

2013-11-18T13:45:00Z 2013-12-09T02:13:14Z Local power outages remain after destructive Sunday stormsTimes Staff nwitimes.com
November 18, 2013 1:45 pm  • 

Fewer than 5,000 NIPSCO customers remained without power in Northwest Indiana on Monday night after a day of deadly storms in the Midwest.

A majority of customers should have their power restored by Wednesday, but some could remain without power until Thursday. Nick Meyer, spokesman for NIPSCO, said there were about 250 crews working to restore power and the company planned to bring in additional contractors.  

Duneland School Corp. in Chesterton announced Brummitt Elementary School there and Jackson Elementary School in Valparaiso are closed because of power outages. All other Duneland schools were in session.

An Amtrak train was stopped for 90 minutes in Michigan City after it hit a tree that fell across the tracks. The train, carrying 93 passengers, was en route from Chicago to Grand Rapids, Mich.

NIPSCO reported crews worked throughout the night to restore service to the 75,000 customers who lost power in the Sunday afternoon storms. Lowell reported the greatest number of power outages, 2,400, but most of the remaining outages were scattered throughout the region.

The outages were caused by three damaged transmission towers just outside of Valparaiso, more than 120 broken poles, downed power lines and cross arms and hundreds of downed trees and limbs, NIPSCO reported on its Web site.

"The reason for the time is really after the initial assessment occurs, they clear the larger circuits impacting large areas like hospitals, then move more toward the smaller customers," Meyer said.

"Those situations are the most frustrating because it seems so simple to fix on the surface, but they have to fix other issues down the line first."

Kankakee Valley REMC reported less than 40 customers without power Monday night, down from 5,000 at the peak of the storm, spokeswoman Amanda Steeb said. Most of those remaining without power are in Porter County.

"These outages are in the harder hit areas that require more time and extensive repairs," Steeb said. "We understand the frustrations to being without power and our crews are working as quickly as they can keeping safety as their number one priority."

Steeb said she anticipates having power restored to many of those who are still affected by Monday evening, but some may not take place until Tuesday.

In Illinois, ComEd reported 4,463 scattered outages in Cook County and 1,431 power outages in Will County.

Crews with the LaPorte County Highway Department were busy overnight reopening roads blocked by fallen trees and utility wires.

LaPorte County Highway Department Superintendent Bob Young said more than 50 trees came down and several roads were still closed during the early morning hours.

He expected the clean up to last several days.

"We'll be on that most of the week I suspect," Young said.

The storm that blew through the region early Sunday afternoon caused a tree to fall on a home in South Haven and destroyed a barn in Lowell. No injuries were reported in either incident.

In Lowell, students at Lake Prairie Elementary School were bused to Lowell Middle School on Monday morning because of a power outage at the elementary. The power was restored by midmorning.

The Sunday afternoon storms forced a two-hour delay of the Chicago Bears game and sent spectators into the concourses of Soldier Field as a precautionary measure.

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