Number of area customers without power continues to dwindle
Thursday, May 14, 2009 ~ Updated 4:48 PM
Crews continue to restore power to affected areas in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois.
Black River Electric Coop said that its crews had reduced the number of members without power to approximately 5,800. Manager of marketing John Singleton said on the company's website that 520 utility personnel continue to restore power.
"As the repair process continues, people are developing a sense of how extensive the damage is and how massive the restoration effort has grown," Singleton said. "Until now, the ice storm of February 2008 was the worst damage BREC had experienced.
"During the storm we lost just over 100 poles," he said. "In this storm, we are looking at close to 1,500 poles broken, making this by far the worst storm in our seventy-one year history."
Citizens Electric Coop reported 427 of its members remain without electricity as of 8:30 a.m., down from 680 Wednesday morning. As many as 10,000 members were without power at one time last weekend.
Spokesperson Barb Casper estimates that more than 280 poles were damaged or broken as a result of Friday's storm. She said that crews from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri have assisted with equipment and manpower. Casper said restoration efforts could extend through the weekend if rain falls as predicted.
merenUE reported that 2,951 customers 3,260 customers in Missouri were in the dark around noon, about 300 less than at 9 a.m. Adair County has the most without power, with 1,083. Single outages were reported in Cape Girardeau County.
Ameren Illinois Utilities said that it had restored power to 60,000 homes and businesses by midnight Wednesday. About 3,780 of its customers in Illinois did not have power around 5 p.m. Thursday, including 740 in Alexander County. The county with the most customers without electricity was Jackson County, with 1,832 in the dark this afternoon.
The American Red Cross continues operating two shelters and eight feeding stations in Southern Illinois. The Red Cross fed 5,000 meals on Wednesday. Shelters are located at the Bush Community Center and Church of God in Marion. Feeding stations are located in Lakeland Baptist Church in Carbondale, Murphysboro Middle School, Marion Pavilion, United Methodist Church in Herrin, Johnson City Fire Department, Carterville Food Pantry, Bush Fire Department and First Baptist Church in Galatia.
The Red Cross also is operating a shelter at the Perryville United Methodist Church.
For relief assistance residents are asked to call 335-9471.
Meanwhile, tornado sirens sounded this morning in Perry County but the National Weather Service said a touchdown of a tornado was not reported to their office. At 1:41 a.m. a tornado warning was issued for northern Perry County but was canceled at 2:06 a.m., said meteorologist David Blanchard.
Blanchard said the only reported damage in Southeast Missouri associated with rain and lightning Wednesday night and this morning was in Neelyville, where two trees were knocked over, shingles were torn off homes and a shed was destroyed.
The most recent storm caused more damage in northern Missouri, when three people were killed Wednesday night in Adair and Sullivan counties. The Associated Press said that two people died in a neighborhood near a Kirksville car dealership and a woman was killed when a tornado struck her mobile home near Milan. Names had not been released until the victims' families were notified.
Blanchard expects a relatively quiet weather day in Southeast Missouri. He said a cold front is expected to move through the region Saturday night, bringing rainfall of up to two inches though severe weather is not expected.
Look for continued updates throughout the day at semissourian.com.