Utility crews from across Iowa and a half-dozen other states are working around-the-clock to restore power to tens of thousands of Iowans.
The electricity has been out since Wednesday’s ice storm, which hit parts of western Iowa the hardest. Crawford County Emergency Management Coordinator Greg Miller says the ice accumulation is worse than he’s ever seen.
Miller says some of the power lines have ice that’s more than four inches thick causing “horrible stress” on the pole and the lines. Miller says Crawford County was declared a disaster area this morning. He says many residents in the area haven’t had the lights on in two days or more.
Miller says 3,000 customers still had no power as of this morning but his greatest fear is the upcoming storm and accompanying winds which may knock down the ice-covered lines that were just repaired. Jeff Bean, general manager of the Western Iowa Power Cooperative, says the damage in Crawford County is extensive.
Bean says 2,200 members have no power and they’re working to repair or replace the 450 poles that are down in addition to more than 200 miles of line. WIPCO is based in Denison and serves portions of Crawford and surrounding counties. Bean tried to put a total on the damage he has seen so far.
He says damage may be between 3 and 5 million dollars. Much of western Iowa is still bracing for a predicted storm that could bring rain or freezing rain and heavy winds later today and into this evening.
Story and photo contributed by Michael Earl, KDSN, Denison