Some power restored, but many still without as repair efforts continue

Published 11:04 am Friday, April 12, 2019

While the number of accounts experiencing outages has dropped significantly since the storm began Wednesday night, over 3,700 were still without power as of 9:30 a.m. Friday morning.

According to a press release from Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services, additional crews and equipment were called upon to help restore power. Those efforts are more time-consuming due to how widespread the outages are as well as continuing weather challenges, the press release states.

Wind and ice meant downed power poles throughout the cooperative’s service area, and as of Friday morning, 500 poles were either broken or on the ground.

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According to a Freeborn County press release, as of 10 a.m. Friday, several county roads are still impassable due to power line disruptions. Everyone is advised to avoid any areas blocked or barricaded.

Downed lines led to several road closures Thursday, as well as a state of emergency declaration by the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz declared a state of emergency later Thursday.

His declaration listed 20 Minnesota counties impacted by damage to the power grid, including Freeborn, Steele and Waseca. According to the executive order, Freeborn and Steele counties (along with Marshall and Mower counties) requested Minnesota National Guard assistance in rescuing motorists, conducting community safety patrols and establishing emergency shelters. According to the Minnesota National Guard, 60 soldiers are manning 19 traffic control points in Freeborn County as of noon Friday.

Three shelters were established for those without power, and will remain open until further notice:

Clarks Grove Fire Hall, 1010 Independence Ave. N., Clarks Grove

Alden Community Center, 502 W. St., Alden

Albert Lea Armory, 410 Prospect Ave., Albert Lea

The Albert Lea Family Y has offered free use of its showers during its business hours for those without power.

According to the Minnesota National Guard, no one used the Albert Lea Armory for shelter overnight.

To report power outages and electrical emergencies, call 1-800-734-6421, as well as 911 in the event of an emergency.

The executive order remains in effect until emergency assistance is no longer required.

The cooperative advises:

  • If you are experiencing an outage, check your fuses or circuit breakers to be sure there is not a problem in your home’s electrical system. If not, call the cooperative to report your outage at 1-800-734-6421.
  • Check with your neighbors to see if they have electricity.
  • If you plan to run a generator, make sure it is on a double-throw transfer switch.
  • Remember it is important, and your responsibility, to protect your sensitive electronic equipment.
  • Consider downed power lines energized. Stay away and call the cooperative or 911 right away.

The following are suggested supplies to have in case of an extended outage or any other emergency:

  • Battery-powered emergency lighting
  • Flashlights, candles
  • Portable or battery-powered radio
  • Wind-up or battery-powered clock
  • Nonperishable food and water
  • First aid kit
  • Telephone that does not rely on electricity

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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