KOKOMO, Ind. – Thousands of Duke Energy customers in the Kokomo were still waiting for power to come back on Tuesday after powerful winds caused widespread damage to trees and power lines Monday evening.
Outages peaked at 58,738 customers across Duke Energy’s 30-county service area after the storm. 11,043 of those customers were in the Kokomo area, according to Duke Energy spokesperson Lew Middleton.
“When trees fall into power lines, then it’s very likely that those power lines will then begin to pull down the power poles,” Middleton said. “And so, it doesn’t take long before you have a cascading event.”
One large outage was still affecting about a thousand customers in a neighborhood west of downtown Kokomo. The power went out in the neighborhood around 7 p.m. Monday.
Residents like Lenora Shanabarger were getting creative in order to deal with having no electricity Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ve been charging my phone in my vehicle,” Shanabarger said. “And I turn it on, and I cool down, then I go back inside the house.”
“I had to take my kids somewhere else because the air conditioner went off, so it’s really hot,” said neighbor Cortni Richardson.
Duke Energy and contract crews could be seen going street-to-street in order to cut tree limbs from power lines and make repairs. By mid-afternoon Tuesday, Howard County outages were down to about 2,700. Some residents were still having a hard time finding out when their power would come back on.
“They said they couldn’t give us an estimated time,” Shanabarger said.
“Last we heard, it was 1 a.m. and then it turned into we don’t know when,” Richardson said.
Middleton said the widespread nature of the tree and line damage made it impossible to provide repair estimates on every individual outage.
“We have teams of damage assessors that are looking at that and the damage is just so extensive, it’s taking them a long time,” he said.
Middleton also said more help was on the way to the area.
“As crews are repairing damage from the southern part of the state, as they get wrapped up, they are being sent immediately to the Kokomo area,” he said.
Howard County emergency officials were asking residents to give repair crews plenty room to do their job safely on neighborhood streets.
You can track Duke Energy power outages in your area on the utility’s outage map.