January 13, 2005

Area Sustains First Major Winter Storm, More Possibly on the Way

Winter struck across northeast Missouri to ring in the New Year as ice and snow covered the area beginning January 3, causing power outages, cancellations and traffic problems.

Residents in the City of Memphis began experiencing power outages during the early morning of January 4, but work crews had the problems repaired soon after noon that afternoon. Rural electricity customers experienced similar problems due to downed power lines and other ice related problems, with outages beginning Monday evening and lasting on and off through Wednesday for some customers.

We had a couple downed lines in the north part of town but the majority of the problems were caused by tree limbs, stated Superintendent Dave Kittle.

Clearing the lines proved to be the time consuming part of the process, Kittle pointed out. Crews hit the streets at about 3:00 a.m. Monday morning to clear debris and restore the electricity.

The workers spent Tuesday and Wednesday trimming trees and clearing the debris as a preventative measure in case additional ice accumulation occurs.

Back in 1994 we had a much worse ice storm that took out a lot of trees, Kittle said. That probably helped us some with this storm, as many of the trees that would have caused us trouble were already long gone.

City, County and Missouri Department of Transportation workers put in the overtime during the three-day spell to keep the local roads in as good as shape as possible.

Their best efforts still could not prevent a few minor mishaps. Traffic was stopped on Highway 136 west of Memphis for some time Thursday morning, January 6 after a semi-truck slid off the south side of the highway. The trailer blocked both lanes of traffic for roughly an hour as emergency service personnel worked to remove the vehicle.

Scotland County and Gorin R-III schools let out early Tuesday, January 4 due to the ice storm and canceled classes Wednesday and Thursday due to the weather.

The worst may not yet be over as forecasters are calling for additional ice and snow this week as temperatures will drop into the single digits heading into the weekend.

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