Around 15,000 Iowans are still without power roughly 48 hours after a winter storm coated trees, roads, and electrical lines with ice. Alliant Energy provides service to a large portion of the hardest hit areas of south-central and southeast Iowa.
Company spokesperson Todd Henderson says if there’s a silver lining – it’s that last February’s ice storm prepared crews for this incident. However, the storm last winter involved more wind and downed power poles.
"Now what we’re dealing with is the ice built up on tree limbs," Henderson says, "those limbs bend, buckle, and break. They come in contact with the power lines and knock the power out."
Alliant has 800 crew members working on restoring power. Henderson says crew will often make a repair, only to have another tree limb fall and knock out power to the same area. Most Iowans, currently without power, could be back on line tonight.
Henderson says, "We aim to have everybody back on this evening and that’s weather permitting." At the height of Tuesday’s storm, more than 70,000 homes and businesses in the state were without power.
Late Wednesday, Governor Culver declared five counties disaster areas: Appanoose, Mahaska, Marion, Union and Wayne. Low-income residents in those counties can now apply for disaster assistance and the state can deploy work crews to help clear roads and repair damage.