Southern Indiana, Northern Kentucky battered by remnants of Hurricane Ike PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 17 September 2008 00:00
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  While many expected the forecasted increased winds that meteorologists had predicted for most of the prior week on Sunday, nobody anticipated the onslaught of hurricane  strength winds for nearly five hours that battered the Ohio River Valley that morning and afternoon
    As the remnants of what was once Hurricane Ike made its way north in the form of a tropical depression, a cold front moving southward out of Canada collided with it causing near hurricane strength winds to topple trees, shingles to blow off, roofs to be uplifted and non-secured items to simply blow away.
    The result was that most of the Southern Indiana area was without power for most of the day Sunday, and many may not have it until at least the weekend as crews from Duke Energy and Clark, Harrison, and Jackson County REMC made their way from line to line to diagnose and reconnect households, section by section.
    Many households are operating on generators, which quickly sold out of local stores as residents made mad dashes to purchase them.
    Another dilemma facing residents was that facing water companies. As power went out, so did the water utilities’ ability to pump water to residents. Compounded with no power already and many residents were in dire straits.
    Gas stations on Sunday evening and Monday were swamped as those few who still had power were bonbarded with customers, and in some cases found their tanks running low or empty as residents hurried to fill gas tanks and cans for running generators and saws to clean up debris on houses and out of roads.
    Officials were saying the damage and resulting repairs were the worst they had seen in over 30 years. Residents in Louisville who are a part of LG&E, may not see power for up to two weeks as crews work around the clock to bring power back on to damaged areas.
    The damage throughout the area came in the form of uplifted shingles on houses, torn off roofs from both homes and barns, articles of furniture, and non-secured items being blown hundreds of feet from their original locations, and many, many downed trees and limbs.
    Clark County REMC reported in a press release on Monday that at least 10,000 members were without service and that their damage assessment was still underway.
    Jackson County REMC reported about 12,000 households without power on Monday.
    Duke Energy said via television stations that upwards of 144,000 households in their area were without power on Monday.
    Clark REMC reported that many of those households might not have power restored for many days as severalroads were blocked by debris and limbs, and were impassable.
  Crews from the electric utilities began nearly immediately to work on downed lines, with many homes having power restored as early as Sunday night. Still more got power back on on Monday morning.
    As fire departments and highway crews made their way from road the road on Sunday, they would no sooner begin to make headway on a road, then they would be called away for a tree down on a power line elsewhere.
    In Washington County, during the height of the storm, virtually every fire department was out simultaneously as they cleared debris, extinguished small blazes, and cut away fallen limbs and trees.
    The predicament that may be the largest part of the current delay in restoring power was that many such as Duke Energy and the local REMC companies had committed crews to go to the Texas coast to assist with the restoration of power along the gulf after Hurricane Ike came ashore on Friday night. According to many power company officials they have recalled the majority of them, however, it will take time for those crews to repack, and return to the area. In the mean time utility companies also called on crews from Northern Indiana to assist in the restoration process.
    Forecasters had initially called for a wind advisory on Sunday afternoon, feeling that increased winds of 30-40 miles per hour were possible. The convergence of the cold front along with the tropical depression made for the perfect ingredients for the advisory to upgraded to a warning as wind velocity increased to near 60 miles per hour. Louisville television stations reported sustained winds of nearly 75 mph, with one in Orange County clocked at 81 mph.
    Keeping that in mind, hurricanes begin at a Category One with winds of 74-95 mph.
    According to officials with the electric companies efforts were being  concentrated on restoring three-phase backbone lines on Monday and would extend to major taps on Tuesday.  
    Above all else officials are asking residents to please not go near any downed power lines, and keep away from any trees and limbs that are in contact with power lines. Always consider any line, in the air or on the ground, as hot and dangerous.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 September 2008 10:22