Strong winds knocked down hundreds of power lines yesterday. MidAmerican Energy spokesman Alan Urlis says it kept work crews busy. Urlis says over 20-thousand MidAmerican customers in Iowa were without power at some point yesterday because of the wind. By 4:30 yesterday afternoon, only 38-hundred MidAmerican customers were still without electric service. Urlis says the majority of those folks were in the Quad Cities area, where 24-hundred customers were without power at dusk. Urlis says the majority of incidents involved tree limbs hitting power lines, but in one extreme case, the wind snapped a pole at a busy intersection in Des Moines. The pole fell near a car, and a woman was trapped inside for some time with “live” wires draped all around. She was not injured, and once the lines were cleared, she was able to drive away. Urlis urges folks to call the power company when they see a downed line — and stay away from it. Urlis says it’s inconvenient to lose power, but it is “certainly unacceptable to have someone get hurt in the process.”Alliant Energy’s Lisha Coffey says there’s an unexpected positive result from yesterday’s gale-force winds. Alliant buys power from a number of wind generators, so while there were repairs going on, Alliant also got about 270-megawatts from wind turbines. Coffey says that’s about the most Alliant’s ever gained from one weather event, and she puts it in perspective. That’s enough power to supply 81-thousand homes, so as busy as it keeps repair crews, there’s also a flip side in all the power it generates. Coffey says the wind generators actually work best when the wind blows hard for a long time. Coffey says windy weather’s just another tool for Alliant to use in supplying electricity. The power company relies on coal, nuclear, gas-fired plants and wind energy, and being able to use any of those four depending on season and weather conditions gives them more tools to choose between. Alliant also had a number of repairs from wind-downed lines.
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