The freezing rain has taken its toll on trees and power lines in many areas of the state. In Ottumwa in southern Iowa, Mike Buchanan at radio station KBIZ, is working without power.
Buchanan says the first power outages started on the north side and then it was a domino effect with the power going out across the city. The fire and police departments in Ottumwa are working on backup generators.
Buchanan says the freezing rain has proven to be too much for the system to handle. He says there are "tremendous amounts of ice" on the trees and power lines, and no one knows how long it will take to get power restored. Buchanan says it’s a mess on the streets. Buchanan says while they had power they heard on the scanner that the Ottumwa Fire Department was answering calls about downed trees and power lines all morning.
The number of Iowans who are losing power because of the ice storm is growing. Iowa’s largest utility provider, Mid-American Energy , reported nearly 24,000 customers in the state without power at 10:30 a.m. Alliant Energy has more than 30,000 customers without power. Alan Urliss, a spokesperson for Mid-American, says the bulk of their company’s outages are in central and southeast Iowa.
Urliss says "the situation will get worse before it gets better. Based on what this storm did south of us – in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri – we would expect that the number of customers without power is going to continue to rise." Urliss says Mid-American brought in extra crews on Monday in preparation for the ice storm.
"We have almost 600 people that have been mobilized to help restore power in the service territory," Urliss says, "and we would hope to be able to get more workers from outside the area – north, farther east, and from west of here – to be able to send crews." Iowans that are currently without power can expect to stay that way for at least one day.
Urliss says it’ll take more than 24 hours to restore all customers power, "any more specificity beyond that really would be speculation, because we don’t know yet how much ice and snow we’re going to get."
Schools across the state closed today because of the storm. Many businesses also closed too.