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Power returns for thousands after Saturday storms, but restoration efforts continue into Monday

As of 6 a.m. Monday, just under 2,300 Duke Energy customers were without power. The majority of those outages were in the Columbus and Richmond areas.

INDIANAPOLIS — Thousands of Duke Energy customers had their power restored by late Sunday after storms ripped through parts of south-central Indiana on Saturday afternoon, downing power lines and causing widespread outages, though hundreds more are still without power.

As of 6 a.m. Monday, just under 2,300 Duke Energy customers were without power. The majority of those outages were in the Columbus and Richmond areas.

This was an improvement from 11 a.m., when Duke Energy said about 14,000 customers had their power out. 

The outages were caused by two waves of storms Saturday afternoon that broke numerous utility poles and brought down power lines, causing power outages for more than 57,000 customers – primarily in southern Indiana. 

The areas most impacted by the power outages include Bartholomew, Shelby, Monroe, Morgan, Crawford, Brown and Decatur counties.

RELATED: Live Doppler 13 Storm Blog: Severe weather leads to damage across the area

The company said in an effort to speed up power restoration efforts, it moved employees and contractors from its Ohio and northern Indiana service areas to supplement local crews in southern Indiana.

Duke Energy said power was expected to be restored to most customers by midnight Sunday, but in the hardest-hit areas around Columbus, restoration may continue into Monday.

“The additional crews we’ve moved from other service areas should help speed power restoration now that the storms have passed,” said Chris Ciminero, Duke Energy incident commander for the storm. “I thank our customers for their patience and understanding as our crews work to safely restore power as quickly as possible.”

Crews are also surveying the extent of the damage, which the company said will help it determine where to deploy its workers, equipment and other resources. 

Duke Energy will have estimated power restoration times for specific counties on its website as soon as those estimated times have been determined. 

Customers can also sign up online to receive a text from Duke Energy when an estimated restoration time is established for their location. 

Power outages can be reported on Duke Energy's website or its mobile app. Customers can also text OUT to 57801 or call Duke Energy’s automated outage-reporting system at 800-343-3525.

RELATED: Live Doppler 13 Weather Blog: After the severe storms, quiet weather returns

Important safety tips

  • Avoid downed power lines: Duke Energy is urging customers to avoid all downed power lines and to assume they are energized. Downed lines should be reported to 800-343-3525.
  • If a power line falls on a car you're in, stay in the car. Duke Energy said if you must get out of the car due to an immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.

How to protect refrigerated food during power outages

For customers who lose power and have full refrigerators and freezers, the Food and Drug Administration recommends the following:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
  • A refrigerator can keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened. If the power will be out for more than four hours, use coolers to keep refrigerated food cold.
  • A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

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