STORM KNOCKS OUT POWER

The Kansas City Star - - Front Page - BY ROBERT A. CRONKLETON bcron­kle­[email protected]­star.com

More than 67,000 power cus­tomers were in the dark Sun­day af­ter­noon, and out­ages are ex­pected to con­tinue into Tues­day.

More than 67,000 Kansas City Power & Light cus­tomers re­mained with­out power Sun­day af­ter­noon, a day after a win­ter storm dumped heavy snow across the metropoli­tan area, and out­ages were ex­pected to con­tinue into Tues­day.

Jack­son County was among the hard­est hit, where about 46,000 res­i­dents and busi­nesses re­mained with­out power Sun­day morn­ing. Mean­while, about 23,000 cus­tomers were with­out power in John­son County, ac­cord­ing to KCP&L’s power out­age map.

Downed tree limbs had caused many of the out­ages, felled by snow mea­sured from 4 to 10 inches in var­i­ous parts of the Kansas City area Satur­day. Many res­i­dents won­dered on Sun­day when power would be re­stored to their homes and whether they should find an­other place to stay.

“We know you’re there; we know it’s dif­fi­cult,” KCP&L’s se­nior di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tion Jamie Kiely said in a brief video on Twit­ter to those who were with­out power. “We be­lieve we will be restor­ing power through Tues­day.”

The com­pany said it had re­stored power to more than 70,000 cus­tomers by Satur­day evening.

Jenny Mohrfeld, who lives in the Waldo area of Kansas City, said the storm was bru­tal.

“We thought we were just get­ting some snow, but we ended up with a lot more snow than we thought and then we also lost power,” she said. “There are lots of trees down — lots and lots of trees.”

Her home lost power about 1 a.m. Satur­day.

“When I woke up on Satur­day, it was about 60 de­grees in my house, so it was plenty chilly,” she said. “By the time I left at noon, it was 55 de­grees.”

She checked into a ho­tel Satur­day night to stay warm. She re­turned home Sun­day and found that power re­mained out.

“There could be a ho­tel in my fu­ture again tonight,” she said.

A few doors down, Rachel Wil­son of Prairie Vil­lage was check­ing on her par­ents’ house, which also was with­out power. She was try­ing to get the house ready for her mom, who was in the hos­pi­tal after be­ing in­jured in a fall be­fore the storm.

“It’s been a while since we had a snow like this,” she said. “And we spent 15 years in Hawaii, all of us, so we don’t do snow very well.”

Wil­son said she hasn’t had a chance to check her house yet or other prop­erty that she owns.

“It’s beau­ti­ful, but the nov­elty is wear­ing off,” she said.

Util­ity crews worked overnight Satur­day and re­stored power to about 15,000 cus­tomers, KCP&L said in a mes­sage on Twit­ter Sun­day morn­ing. Wes­tar En­ergy also sent more crews Sun­day morn­ing to help re­store power.

“We’ve made some good progress,” Gina Pen­zig, man­ager of me­dia com­mu­ni­ca­tions for KCP&L, said Sun­day af­ter­noon.

As of Sun­day af­ter­noon, about 67,000 re­mained with power. There were more than 4,400 ac­tive re­pair tick­ets that needed to get worked on to re­store power to those cus­tomers, she said.

More than 1,000 util­ity work­ers from Kansas, Mis­souri and Iowa were work­ing to re­store power in the Kansas City area.

Wet, heavy snow from the storm clung to tree limbs and power lines, weigh­ing them down and caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant tree and wire dam­age, Pen­zig said.

The win­ter storm that moved through the area Satur­day dumped 4 to 10 inches of snow around the Kansas City area. Some ar­eas might have seen more than 10 inches. The storm ini­tially had left more than 110,000 KCP&L cus­tomers with­out power.

Al­though the util­ity has a pro­gram to trim trees to keep limbs away from power lines and pre­vent out­ages, a storm like this one can bring down limbs pre­vi­ously thought to be a safe dis­tance from the lines, Pen­zig said.

The weight of the snow top­pled trees and knocked down power lines.

Even neigh­bor­hoods where lines are buried are not nec­es­sary im­mune to out­ages from such storms. Those lines are likely fed by over­head lines, Pen­zig said.

While out­ages with buried power lines oc­cur less fre­quently, they take longer to re­pair be­cause it takes longer to iden­tify where the out­age has oc­curred, she added.

Be­cause re­pairs were ex­pected to stretch into Tues­day and cold tem­per­a­tures were likely, peo­ple with­out power were be­ing urged to seek shel­ter with a friend or rel­a­tive. Peo­ple were urged to check on the el­derly and those with small chil­dren.

No ad­di­tional snow was ex­pected Sun­day, but tem­per­a­tures were ex­pected to re­main below freez­ing.

ROADS CLEARED

While util­ity crews worked to re­store power, road crews around the Kansas City area worked through the night clear­ing high­ways and ma­jor thor­ough­fares.

Kansas City of­fi­cials said the city’s crews were out plow­ing res­i­den­tial and ar­te­rial routes. The ar­te­rial crews were clear­ing the snow from curb to curb while res­i­den­tial crews were check­ing for missed spots as well as widen­ing paths through neigh­bor­hoods.

Res­i­dents were urged to park cars off of streets or only on the north or west side of each street so that plows could get through faster.

Be­cause there could be some re-freez­ing overnight, crews planned to treat bridges and over­passes overnight Sun­day. The city said its staff planned to re­turn to nor­mal duty Mon­day and re­spond to calls as needed.

Olathe said it would fo­cus on clear­ing res­i­den­tial streets on Sun­day.

The Mis­souri Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion said crews worked through the night clear­ing the high­ways in the Kansas City area. Some roads, how­ever, re­mained par­tially cov­ered and re­freez­ing was a con­cern.

RideKC said downed trees and power out­ages af­fected bus routes, and the Three-Trails Tran­sit Cen­ter was with­out power.

Most buses were run­ning on time on their reg­u­lar routes, the tran­sit provider said on Twit­ter.

RideKC Free­dom para­tran­sit ser­vice, how­ever, was us­ing its Phase C plan. De­lays of more than an hour are likely. Rid­ers were urged to resched­ule any nonessen­tial trips by call­ing 816-842-9070.

KEITH MY­ERS - THE KANSAS CITY STAR

A KCP&L crew worked Sun­day to re­store power near 72nd Street and Lamar Av­enue in John­son County. Thou­sands were with­out power in the Kansas City area after a snow storm Satur­day.

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