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Thursday, Sep. 18, 2014

Communities work to clean up after storm

Thursday, January 31, 2008

(Photo)
A Morley resident cleans up debris from a trailer on Highway 61 Wednesday after Tuesday afternoon's high winds
(Photos by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
Crews work all night to restore electrical power

SIKESTON -- Some Southeast Missouri communities spent Wednesday cleaning up debris while others focused on staying warm after a powerful cold front barreled across the area late Tuesday.

Nearly three-fourths of residents in East Prairie, most of whom were Ameren UE customers, were without power from about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday until 3 p.m. Wednesday, a city official said.

As a result of the outages, school was canceled and most of the businesses, including the city's administration building in East Prairie were closed Wednesday, said East Prairie Police Chief Danny Lafferty.

"Once that storm came through, temperatures started dropping drastically, even down to the single digits," Lafferty said.

(Photo)
Ralph Hicks and Isaac Porter, city of Morley employees, clean up tree limbs from Tuesday afternoon storms
Between 4 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, temperatures in Southeast Missouri dropped by 38 degrees, according to National Weather Service records. Temperatures dropped into the teens and even single digits.

"Most of the ones affected by outage are staying at their relatives or are bundled up at home," Lafferty said.

In response to the power outage and freezing temperatures in Mississippi County, the Red Cross, in partnership with the city of East Prairie, opened a warming center at Martin Elementary on Washington Street.

"Warming centers provide a safe environment where people can go to stay warm during a weather emergency," said Red Cross executive director Cheryl Klueppel.

Red Cross volunteers delivered warm meals, donated by Double B Restaurant, to elderly residents unable to leave their homes using the Emergency Response Vehicle.

"We served at least 26 people out at Prairie Groves Apartments a little while ago," Lafferty said Wednesday afternoon.

Besides the power outage, storm damage included fallen trees and three downed power lines, Lafferty said.

"We've had power outages like this before, and we've always handled it pretty well. Everything has been smooth," Lafferty said.

According to Glen Cantrell, communications manager for Semo Electric Cooperative, most of its 5,000 Southeast Missouri members who lost power just after 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, were back on line by early Wednesday morning. The rest were back on line by early afternoon Wednesday.

"Our lineman, were out all night making sure our members would not be without electricity very long." Cantrell said.

Over 24 power line poles had to be replaced due to damage from trees or the extreme high winds that whipped through southeast Missouri. There are still some lines that need to be repaired or replaced, but everyone is back on line with power, he said.

"We still have some individual homes, that may have some low lying lines," said Cantrell, "and we'll address those one at a time over the next few days, but our main focus was getting our members back on line."

Lineman weren't the only ones at the cooperative who had a long night. Inside office staff stayed late as well, answering phones and concerns of its members. Cantrell said for almost four hours, the lines were lit up with members calling in about the outage.

"We urge our members to be patient when there is an outage, because they won't be the only ones calling," Cantrell said.

Elsewhere in the area, residents worked Wednesday to clean up debris from the widespread storm.

Teresa Hicks, a city of Morley employee, said residents and city workers were busy Wednesday cleaning up debris and fallen tree limbs and restoring fallen power lines. An unoccupied mobile home unit located off Highway 61 was completely demolished following severe winds that the National Weather Service said gusted to 70 to 80 miles per hour.

Also employees from the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky., spent Wednesday survey storm damage in Cape Girardeau County and southern Illinois. Due to the widespread damage, survey results could take days to examine all of the high-end damage locations, said meteorologist Rachel Trevino.

"They really got started by mid-morning," Trevino said.

With half of Southeast Missouri predicted to get minor to moderate accumulations of snow or ice and the other half predicted to get anywhere from four to eight inches of snow, it's really tough to say what will happen in the Sikeston area, National Weather Service meteorologist Rachel Trevino said.

"Those counties north of you will get a pretty significant snowfall," Trevino said. "Once you get to Paducah, it will be mixing with rain. There's definitely going to be some snow. It will be serious in northwest and central west Missouri."

SIKESTON - With half of Southeast Missouri predicted to get minor to moderate accumulations of snow or ice and the other half predicted to get anywhere from four to eight inches of snow through Friday, it's really tough to say what will happen in the Sikeston area, National Weather Service meteorologist Rachel Trevino said.

"Those counties north of you will get a pretty significant snowfall," Trevino said. "Once you get to Paducah, it will be mixing with rain. There's definitely going to be some snow. It will be serious in northwest and central west Missouri."

With snow and ice in the forecast, another power outage wouldn't be unheard of.

The Red Cross also offered the following tops safety tips should an outage occur:

-- Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles.

-- Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.

-- Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.

-- Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.

-- If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.