A wintry mix of icy rain and high winds produced spots of power outages throughout Washington County and surrounding areas Thursday morning and afternoon.
According to Alliant Energy spokesperson Mike Wagner, at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, there were several spots in Washington County where energy had been lost and a reported 272 Alliant customers were without power. A map on the Alliant Energy website showed the outages to be spread in small groups throughout the county with no one area being greatly impacted. Most of the areas without power were in rural areas. Wagner said crews were aware of the problems and making repairs. He predicted power would be restored later in the afternoon.
Because the outages were in small groups, Wagner said restoration could take a bit longer because crews had to go to each area to repair the lines. Earlier in the day, many outages had been reported in the City of Keota, but power had been restored by about 10:30 a.m.
“A lot of these outages are weather-related and it can be a variety of factors,” Wagner said. “We had a transmission issue earlier today where a piece of equipment that held a line in place just gave out, so it was a matter of resecuring the line and re-energizing it. Some of the repairs are pretty simple.”
During icy weather, Wagner commented, there are many reasons power could go out. Common problems include ice on power lines causing them to fall or motorists sliding into power lines. Wagner also said tree crews are also standing by because ice storms cause trees to fall onto a line.
Wagner said Alliant Energy prepares for an emergency situation every day. Any time power goes out, it is a situation crews need to be able to respond to. He said crews are prepared to go out no matter the weather or the time of day. Due to the nature of the ice storms in the area, Alliant has additional crews in the southern area of Iowa. Alliant is monitoring the ice levels and the wind levels affecting the area.
The National Weather Service reports cold temperatures will be seen Friday into Saturday. Another storm system will impact the region Sunday with snow. More snow is possible Monday and Tuesday. Due to uncertainty in storm tracks, it is too early to estimate any potential snowfall amounts.
Alliant warns people to stay away from any fallen power lines and to keep others away from it. People experiencing outages can call 1-800-ALLIANT or go to alliantenergy.com/outage to report the problem. Updates on numbers of outages and estimates for restoration are available on Alliant’s website.