AP NEWS

1,500 I&M customers lose power in high winds

February 25, 2019

Close to 1,500 people lost power Sunday after strong winds blew through the Fort Wayne and surrounding area. By 8 p.m., only about 400 remained without power.

Tracy Warner, Indiana Michigan Power’s communications director, said most outages were resolved within 21/2 hours. Crews knew there would be a high likelihood of heavy winds Sunday and were prepared early, he said.

“This has been somewhat of unusual storm as it’s pretty much lasted all day,” Warner added. 

Stronger afternoon gusts caused further outages while crews were working to restore power from earlier outages.

More than 400 I&M employees and contractors were working to restore power to more than 10,000 customers in the service area stretching from southern Michigan down to the Muncie area. The Fort Wayne area had not been hit as hard as other areas, Warner said.

Much of the area had been under a high wind warning until 1 a.m. Monday. Wind gusts as high as 64 mph were recorded by the National Weather Service in Fort Wayne.

“The sustained nature of this windstorm, with new outages being reported throughout the day, hampers I&M’s ability to determine when restoration will be complete,” an I&M statement read.

I&M said crews would continue to work throughout the night, but warned that not all customers may be restored by Sunday night.

For safety reasons, crews would work 16 hours and then take a break, and work would begin again in the morning.

Warner added that because of cold overnight temperatures, customers without power overnight were urged to find alternative places to stay or safely use alternative heating sources.

jgarvin@jg.net