Columbus, Neb. – An unrelenting storm front moved across Nebraska yesterday and into the early hours of June 4, damaging a number of NPPD transmission lines in the Loup City and Tekamah area and causing numerous distribution outages in NPPD’s retail communities. Several of NPPD’s wholesale customers were impacted, too.
The storm’s impact began mid-day on June 3, with primary damage occurring in the north central part of the state where front winds in excess of 100 miles per hour around the Ainsworth areas were reported. The storm traveled eastward accompanied by heavy rain, extensive thunder and lightning, hail, and some reports of tornadoes. Norfolk even reported softball-sized hail.
As of this morning, 700 customers are out of service in Tekamah and another 122 in Craig, served by NPPD. Crews are on the scene working to restore power with restoration expected for both communities sometime later today. An estimated 5,000 NPPD customers were without power between 2 p.m. yesterday and this morning. Communities included Bassett, Long Pine, Norfolk, Oakland, Tekamah, Shelton, Geneva, Nehawka, Loup City, Craig, York, Pawnee City, Crab Orchard, and Lewiston. Norfolk had the largest outage with roughly 1,400 customers impacted. A farmer was temporarily trapped when a powerline between Oakland and Tekamah line landed on his tractor. The individual was unharmed and was removed safely after NPPD de-energized the line.
A total of eight structures were damaged on NPPD’s 115-kV line between Oakland and Tekamah. Additional patrols are underway this morning to assess the impact to areas inaccessible last night. Four H-frame structures on NPPD’s Oakland to Winslow 115-kV line were also damaged. Cost estimates and estimated restoration of impacted is unknown at this time.
NPPD crews from Kearney started clean up and line construction this morning on a 115-kV line between Loup City and North Loup where six structures were damaged. A North Loup to Spaulding 115-kV line was out of service but was restored overnight. Another seven structures were reported down on a 69-kV line from Ainsworth to O’Neill. This line is expected to be back in service Thursday afternoon.
Numerous sub-transmission outages were reported involving NPPD’s wholesale customers of Cornhusker Public Power District (PPD), Loup Valleys PPD, Polk County PPD, Southern PD, Perennial PPD, Burt County PPD, Norris PPD, Butler PPD, Niobrara Valley EMC, and KBR PPD. Information regarding specific damage to these utilities’ systems and/or the number of their end-use customers impacted by the storm is available from each respective utility.
NPPD’s grid is designed with redundancy, to move power through multiple lines (or feeds); however, a major storm can damage multiple lines and structures leaving sections of lines or communities without power until the line(s) is rebuilt or power is provided through another means. To help Nebraskans contact their service providers if not known, NPPD hosts an interactive database on its website for identifying the utility serving a respective community. http://www.nppd.com/about-us/nebraska-town-index/