Thawing ice still causing power problems in western Kansas

Local

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – The ice storm in western Kansas may be over, but its effects linger on. The weight of the remaining ice on power lines has caused widespread outages across much of the western part of the state.

One of the hardest hit areas is Dodge City where the ice on power lines, although it may be melting, is causing additional power outages.

“We had a really, really good night,” said Jeri Imgarten with Victory Electric co-Operative. “Our crews worked through most of the night, got down to about 3,200 outages.”

But, that progress didn’t last long.

“The sun came out this morning, started melting the ice, which one would think was a good thing. But unfortunately the melting ice causes a whole other element of problems,” Imgarten said.

The melting ice caused two electric substations to go down, bumping the number of outages from 3,200 to about 5,000. However, they were quickly brought back on-line. But the threat of similar problems continues because electricity and water, whether it’s ice or in liquid form, don’t mix.

“This is something we fight every time we have ice,” Imgarten said.  So, you know, you may think you have your lights back but if, until all the ice is melted, nothing is guaranteed at this point.”

Victory Electric officials say they’re grateful to the community for donating snacks and hot meals for the utility workers who are working around the clock.

“It’s been a hard road and it’s going to continue to be until we can get all of these outages fixed, and I know it’s hard being patient in a situation like this when you’ve been out of power for a long time and it’s cold,” Imgarten said.

A warming shelter has been set up at the Dodge City Community College Student Activity Center for area residents who still don’t have power.

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