Snowstorm leaves tens of thousands without power in Indiana
Over 30,000 people are without power in central Indiana after a major winter storm system dumped over 10 inches of snow and bitterly cold air moved in.
Duke Energy reported over 14,400 without power at 1:30 a.m. Monday. That number was down to around 6,000 by mid-day.
Indianapolis Power and Light had over 29,000 outages at noon. IPL says it may be 48 hours before some of those customers have their power restored.
Boone County REMC was also working to restore power north of Lebanon, with no estimate on when power would be restored. Customers are asked to call (765) 482-2390 with questions and concerns.
Peggy Ross was one of the customers who lost power and, with it, heat for her home.
"Last 45 minutes or an hour, you can see it's dropped from 72 to 64," she said.
Ross said the lights flickered, then went out in her north Indianapolis home. Heavy snow is likely to blame. The power is out throughout Ross' neighborhood.
"Hopefully the power gets on and my pipes don't freeze," said Andy Kroon.
Kroon was taking precautions, letting his faucets run at a trickle, but with sub-zero temperatures on the way soon, he knows being in the dark is downright dangerous.
"Temperature part is kind of what's gotten my attention," he said.
It has gotten the attention of city leaders, too. Mayor Greg Ballard and other officials put out a warning for everyone to stay inside.
"I can't emphasize that enough. The cold really scares me, such that we could have temperatures that are potentially deadly or life-altering temperatures right now," the mayor said. "We have to be very, very careful right now."
IPL customers should report outages or downed power lines to 317-261-8111. Duke customers should call 1-800-343-3525.
If you're outside shoveling today or tonight, be aware of heavy snow snapping branches off trees. Several WTHR viewers have reported downed trees and branches of all sizes snapping off from the weight of heavy snow.
Duke Energy released the following statement about Sunday's outages:
Duke Energy had about 20,000 customers affected by power outages from Sunday's heavy, wet snow. About 9,000 customers were without service as of approximately 9 p.m. The company urged anyone without power to prepare and take precautions because of the extremely low temperatures forecasted for Monday.
"The severe weather is slowing power restoration," said Russ Atkins, Midwest vice president of engineering. "It takes longer to get to travel and longer to identify and fix problems in these conditions. We have called in additional resources to supplement our local crews and speed up power restoration. We expect to work at least throughout the day and night on Monday, and so we are urging customers without service to prepare for extreme temperatures because some of the outages may be extended."
Safety remains critically important during restoration efforts. Duke Energy is cautioning customers to avoid downed power lines as they could be energized and dangerous. Anyone without service should report power outages as well as downed power lines by calling 1-800-343-3525.
Be safe at home
Here are some helpful tips for IPL customers to consider as temperatures continue to fall.
· Avoid using appliances such as stoves for heating your home.
· When using an alternate heat source such as fireplace, wood stove, portable/kerosene heater or electric heaters, use caution, practice fire safety, provide for proper ventilation and follow all manufacturers' safety guidelines.
· Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
· If you use candles, be careful with them. Remember to keep them away from children and combustible materials and never leave lit candles unattended.
Be smart about energy use:
· Close all doors, windows and screens. You may want to purchase inexpensive window kits to cover unused windows and doors with plastic.
· Turn the heat down before you leave your home during the day and again at night.
· Prevent drafts by closing fireplace dampers when not in use.
· Clean dryer lint traps and exhaust vents and change furnace filters.
· For more tips on increasing your energy-efficiency year-round, go to www.iplpower.com/Residential/Home_Energy_Savings
Be prepared for emergencies:
· Create an emergency kit with flashlights, extra batteries, first aid supplies and all necessary medications.
· Cordless phones will not operate without electricity. Make sure cell phones are fully-charged.
· If your power goes out, first, carefully check for blown fuses or confirm your circuit breaker is in the "on" position. Also, see if your neighbors have electricity to determine if the problem is isolated to your electric system, or if you should report your outage to IPL.