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Ice storm batters Tekamah, Burt County

Ice storm batters Tekamah, Burt County

The first major winter storm of the season wasn’t your garden variety snowstorm.

A system that dumped nearly an inch and a half of rain on Burt County also left behind nearly a quarter inch of accumulated ice.

Although there were few travel impacts, nearly every rural county resident was without electricity service for a few hours, if not days. For many, that meant firing up the generator, turning to auxiliary heat sources, or even spending the night with friends or relatives.

The rains came in spurts, starting Monday afternoon. By late that evening it was raining steadily from a storm that included thunder and lightning, an unusual occurrence for November. When the temperatures went below freezing, the trouble started.

Early morning on Tuesday, at 3:55 a.m., Nebraska Public Power District had a sub-transmission line that tripped. That incident impacted three Burt County Public Power District substations and many of the Tekamah-based utility’s customers. One substation was restored at 10:05 a.m. and the two others at 11:06 a.m.

Still, on Tuesday morning, Nov. 10, 2,151 customers were without power in a wide swath that ranged across Burt County Public Power District’s service area, from Dodge to Thurston County.

By Thursday morning the count was down to 1,168, by Friday morning it was 214.

Falling limbs in Tekamah resulted in a couple of outages. Nebraska Public Power District reported on Tuesday at 5:33 a.m. it had 61 customers without power due to a downed line. That issue was fixed by 9:24

Later Tuesday morning, at 9:56 a.m., NPPD had 111 customers in Craig without power when a tree came down and brought a line with it. Service there was restored at 12:12 p.m.

And again on Tuesday, at 6:55 p.m., 698 Tekamah customers were left in the dark but NPPD was able to clear a branch from the line and power was restored at 6:59 p.m.

Mutual aid crews from the Elkhorn Rural, Niobrara Valley and North Central Public Power districts helped local crews restore lines. NPPD also provided mutual aid assistance to Burt County PPD Thursday and Friday to help restore the distribution system. A half-dozen line technicians and lift trucks from South Sioux City and Norfolk joined the effort.

Although all residential customers had power restored by Friday, BCPPD General Manager Jon Dockhorn said here is still some conductor damage and wires on the ground. Crews will continue our restoration efforts next week and asks that any downed power lines be reported to the company’s office by calling 402-374-2631 during normal business hours, 7:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Tekamah and Oakland both had scores of downed limbs, sending residents scrambling for chain saws. The sound of running saws, countered by the sound of snapping limbs, could be heard all over Tekamah Tuesday morning.

City crews started picking up piled debris from curbsides on Thursday. Street Superintendent Matt Deemer said that work is expected to continue through much of this week.

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