Power has been restored to around 4,000 residents in Fayette County only 24 hours after 33 electric poles fell in the county on Saturday night during the latest winter weather event, according to Dayton, Power and Light (DP&L).
“We had been following the weather models and winter storm Harper early on last week,” Mary Ann Cabel, director of corporate communications at DP&L, said on Monday. “So we were fully staffed and we had our line crews on board, involved all of those internally who handle the calls and so on. When the storms came in on Saturday it wreaked havoc on our northern counties as they had blizzard conditions, high winds and so on. The storm brought in — well north of I-70 it brought in more snow and south it was more rain and snow turning into freezing rain — and even brought higher winds in the afternoon. Between the winds at 30 to 40 miles per hour and the ice accumulation, we were looking at some really tough conditions. Especially when they went into blizzard conditions.”
That being the case, Cabel said — as mother nature has a way of doing — the lines in various places were impacted. Overall, she said 31,000 customers were impacted, but not all at one time. The bulk came on Saturday, but according to Cabel, some additional power outages were reported on Sunday.
“But I can confidently say that within 24 hours all of those customers being interrupted during the course of the storm were restored,” Cabel said. “In Fayette County we had one more where 33 poles were impacted, which attributed to the outages there. I am still trying to determine whether it was about 4,000 that were impacted. I can’t say I witnessed how they went down, but it usually depends on how the wind behaves. If it was in a straight section it could have pulled two that in turn pulled the other ones down. The variation of the velocity of the wind could have pulled them out in different ways, but we can see where the path was, where the hardest winds were.”
Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said Monday the ice has caused multiple vehicle “slide-offs,” not only over the weekend, but also on Monday. Currently no injuries have been reported from these accidents, but Stanforth warned the community to continue to drive slow and safe on the roads, as ice and snow are just the beginning of the worries with temperatures dipping as low as 2 degrees Monday.
“Our biggest concern is the cold arctic air that is coming through, it is just as dangerous as snow and ice,” Stanforth said on Monday afternoon. “If your car were to become disabled, or slide-off, you are going to get cold quick. Dress appropriately and make sure to check where you’re going before you go. The roads are good, as far as main routes are concerned. Back roads or secondary roads are still snow-covered, but there is just a lot of snow and until the weather warms up enough to help melt it we are going to be un-burying for a moment. Treat every road as if it is ice and even if it melts a little bit thanks to the sunlight, at night it will become black ice so be extra cautious right now.”
As of mid-Monday afternoon, the DP&L power outage map showed just two people in Fayette County still braving the cold weather without power.
Stay with the Record-Herald for more updates on potential winter weather in Fayette County.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.