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Thousands in city lose power

Jim ChapmanAshley SlobodaMay 24, 2019

Thousands of homes and at least three schools were without power Thursday after thunderstorms with high winds hit the area, downing trees and power lines.

Wind gusts of up to 64 mph were reported early Thursday, causing trees and branches to fall onto power lines and utility poles, Indiana Michigan Power said.

Trees and limbs also damaged many homes and other property in the region.

In the Fort Wayne area, about 3,100 I&M customers were without power at 10 a.m. At 4 p.m., 850 were still without power, I&M said.

I&M crews found 13 broken poles, and more than 250 employees and contractors worked to restore service, the utility said.

About 9,500 Kosciusko County REMC customers lost power around 4:40 a.m. due to the storm, the utility said.

About 35,000 NIPSCO electricity customers also were affected, with the hardest hit areas in Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange and Newton counties, the utility said.

The storm caused power outages at some schools, including Blackhawk Christian and Blackhawk Middle schools in northeast Fort Wayne.

While Blackhawk Christian called a two-hour delay, Blackhawk Middle operated on a normal schedule.

Fort Wayne Community Schools responded on social media to parents critical of the decision at Blackhawk Middle School and noted its communications department learned of the outage at 7:13 a.m.

“At that point, students were already in school,” the district said. “Even at 6:45, it would have been too late to call a delay because students were already on buses on their way to school. We can’t call a delay for some students and not others. We do the best we can with the information we have at the time we receive it.”

In announcing power was restored at Blackhawk Middle, FWCS said an outage also affected Lakeside Middle School.

jchapman@jg.net

asloboda@jg.net

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