Statewide Power Outage Numbers Inch Upward
Thousands More Could Be In Dark
Last Updated: 844 days ago
More than 52,000 people were left without power Tuesday evening as the second round of a winter storm that the National Weather Service said could have a "potentially catastrophic" moved across the state.As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Duke Energy, the state's largest electric utility, said more than 52,000 of its Indiana customers were without power, with the vast majority of those in Vigo County, where more than 12,000 people were in the dark. See: Interactive Radar | Live Stream Watch: Watch: | Shelter Locations Indianapolis Power and Light customers fared far better but saw a jump to more than 2,800 customers in the dark, most on the city's southwest side, just before 10 p.m.Up to a half-inch of ice coated power lines and trees in some parts of Indiana, and with prospects of more than an inch of ice before freezing rain turns to snow, state officials are warning that those who lose power could be without it for a long time.Duke said it has called in extra equipment and crews from out-of-state to its headquarters in Plainfield to be ready to help get the power back on."We're taking a wait-and-see attitude," said Lewis Middleton, of Duke Energy. "At the same time, we're doing everything we can to prepare for what could be some rather signifcant outages."At a briefing Monday afternoon, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said the Indiana Department of Homeland Security will coordinate much of the state's response to what could be an historic storm."It may sound odd, but I think we'd rather have a couple feet of snow than a lot of ice, with the damage it can do to utility lines, to cell towers, to basic services," Daniels said.Power crews and state officials appear to be most concerned about the forecast for the central part of the state, which calls for up to an inch of freezing rain along the Interstate 70 corridor through early Wednesday morning.Power lines can begin snapping, unable to hold the weight of the ice, once a half-inch of ice coats them.With trees also expected to fall along power lines, thousands of people could quickly lose power, and restoring power could take a long time, with temperatures expected to stay below freezing for the rest of the week.A similar ice storm in 2005 left thousands of central Indiana residents without power for days, and the forecast this time around is worse than it was then.The National Weather Service drew comparisons between this storm to a 2009 storm that crippled parts of western Kentucky and southeastern Missouri, causing some people to lose power for more than two weeks. The storm's affect on central Indiana has the potential to be worse, NWS officials said.IPL said it is in full storm mode, calling on crews from other parts of the country to be ready to help if the forecast bears out."We have identified mutual assistance crews to bring in, and we'll be mobilizing those crews yet today," said Crystal Livers-Powers, communications director at IPL.With winds expected to gust to 40 mph as snow moves in after the freezing rain, there could be power problems for days to come in central Indiana. More: IPL Contact Info Stay with Storm Team 6 and TheIndyChannel.com for the latest winter storm information.