Kankakee Valley REMC has reported over 7000 people without power in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Starke, and Pulaski counties after the afternoon storm that tore through the area on Friday. KVREMC dispatched crews yesterday to affected areas to begin restoring power. Causing the outages are five substations that have been reported down due to transmission feeds from NIPSCO being out as well as broken poles and downed wires.
Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem says the hardest hit area seems to be around Bass Lake, where boats were reportedly flipped over in the water and even tossed up on land. Several trees were felled and Norem says cleanup crews have their work cut out for them.
“The hardest hit areas seem to be in California Township around Bass Lake and North Bend Township, also around Bass Lake. The crews have been out, the highway department is out, the Sheriff’s Department has been out, but there is a lot of damage in that particular area and it’s going to be a long cleanup,” Norem said.
Making the problem even worse is the fact that when several trees fell, they landed on power lines, twisted the lines around the tree and causing them to tangle. Norem says many roads have been closed until the lines can be repaired.
“It appears that a lot of the downed trees have lines tangled into them, so until those lines are confirmed dead, the highway department can’t even touch those, so they are putting up road closed signs,” said Norem. “Please pay attention to the road closed signs. Don’t go traveling down roads that you are unfamiliar with, and whatever you do, stay away from downed power lines.”
There is no estimate yet on when power will be restored to affected areas, but both KVREMC and NIPSCO crews are out working to restore power as quickly as possible. Norem says they are dealing with several issues as part of restoring power.
“It’s going to take a while, and at this point I can’t really predict,” Norem said. “There is a lot of damage in that particular area, and they are out working, but a lot of it is going to depend on those lines that are down, the lack of electricity is going to be a factor, and the other thing that we are dealing with is making sure there is plenty of gasoline for the highway trucks, the police department, and the EMS trucks to run, so we are working on that issue as well.”
Fortunately, few injuries have been reported from the storm. Two boys were reportedly injured when a tree fell on them near Bass Lake, but they were transported to IU Health Starke Hospital for treatment and no further information has been reported.