Storm causes outages, damage

June 01, 2004|HERB BROCK

With the culprits being everything from fallen tree limbs to a flying trampoline, power outages were reported in several area counties Sunday and Monday as a fierce spring storm turned the Memorial Day weekend into a holiday to forget for the residents of thousands of darkened homes.

The storm produced stiff winds that were the main cause of the scattered power outages and damage to at least one business in Lincoln County, and it generated torrential downpours that swelled rivers and creeks and caused minor flooding. All or part of Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties were under tornado warnings for extended periods of time on Sunday, and Garrard and Mercer counties remained under flood warnings today.

In addition, scores of trees were ripped by their roots from the ground in several parts of the area, especially along U.S. 150 and Ky. 39 in Lincoln County and on Ky. 78 in Casey County.


There were no reports of tornado touchdowns or injuries.

At the Reddi-Mart store In Crab Orchard, the canopy over gas pumps and the pumps themselves were "laid over" by strong winds about 1 a.m. Monday, owner Lonnie Pruitt said today. In addition, the roof over an outdoor cooler was torn away, he said.

"It wasn't a twister; it was some kind of straight line wind," said Pruitt. "It pulled the canopy down and pulled the pumps out of their concrete foundations and just laid them over. The wind also pulled up some trees along (Ky.) 39."

The convenience store on U.S. 150 at Ky. 39 will remain temporarily closed while repairs are done, he said.

Stephen Souder, vice president of operations for Inter-County said today that about 4,500 customers in the area were without power at one time or another on Sunday. However, power has been restored to all those customers.

Lincoln, Casey were hardest hit

The hardest hit areas were in southern and southeast Lincoln County and northeast Casey County, Souder said.

"The main outage area in Lincoln was from Stanford to down to Waynesburg and Kings Mountain, and Crab Orchard also was hit pretty hard," he said. "In Casey County, the northern part of the county, down to Liberty was hit fairly hard as well.

Strong winds hit the Jacktown and Ellisburg communities in northern Casey County Sunday night, downing trees and power lines, and there was flooding reported throughout the county, according to Bernetha Foley of the Casey County Road Department.

"As of 11 a.m. Monday, we had about 200-300 customers still out, but everything was back on by dark," Souder said.

Most of the outages were caused by lightning striking transformers, lines and insulators and strong winds uprooting trees, causing them to fall on power lines. "We lost three circuits at two different substations," he said.

Trampoline causes power outage

In addition to lightning, toppled trees and fallen tree limbs, Souder's list of typical outage-causing villains included a first-time entry - a trampoline. "I've been doing this work a long time but never have I had a report of a trampoline causing a power outage," said the 16-year Inter-County veteran.

"This big trampoline took flight somewhere in Lincoln County, landed on line and caused an outage. I've seen tree limbs and lightning and other things but never a trampoline (cause an outage)."

Storms seemed to skirt Mercer County. David Weber, director of the county's Emergency Management Agency, said today that he had seen no serious damage as result of the storms over the weekend. He said he was in the Salvisa area when a funnel cloud was reported, but he did not see it, nor did he see any wind damage.

However, the county received enough rain to force the closure of Bondville Road where Salt River has risen out of its banks. Betty Gambrel at the Harrodsburg Police Department Central Dispatch said that information came from Kentucky State Police.

Weber was reached at Wards Landing near Brooklyn Bridge where he said the Kentucky River was out of its banks, but he had not seen any serious flooding. However, he said had not yet checked all the areas along the rivers and streams that flow through Mercer County.

No flooding had been reported in Burgin where flooding often occurs following heavy rains.

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