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Westar: 600 customers still without power

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July 01, 2013|Jade DeGood

Monday morning Update: Westar Energy said Monday morning that 600 customers are still without power after Thursday's storms. 

If your power is still out, you're asked to call 1-800-LIGHT-KS to report the outage again.

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"Through the period of damage assessment we determined with the amount of damage that we've seen it would be a little later then we first anticipated," said Nick Bundy, spokesman for Westar Energy. "A lot of what we're seeing is trees down, we'll be replacing a lot of poles putting wire back up."

Winds reached near 90 mph in some areas.

"It got real windy, we could see it coming in," describes Joann Tilley, a homeowner in Haysville. "Then everything started blowing and we could hear things hitting the top of the house. It was just real tremendous."

Westar encourages customers who are without power to take precautions in today's heat.

"It's not going to be as hot as it was yesterday, but it's still going to be hot," said Bundy. "So take precautions. Go to a public place if you have to get out of the heat for a little bit. Certainly drink a lot of water."

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Homeowners without power should check their meter boxes and make sure they are still attached to their homes.

"A lot of times a tree will take that meter can down and away from the home," said Bundy. "If that happens they need to contact a licensed electrician before we are able to restore the service."

Also, if you plan to use a generator, Westar suggests you get help from a licensed electrician.

"If you are going to use a generator there is a safe way and a correct way to do that," said Bundy. "If it's improperly used it creates a dangerous situation for our crews and feeds electricity back onto the line. So we do ask you to have a licensed electrician if you are going to use a generator."

Call 1-800-LIGHT-KS to report power outages and downed power lines on personal property. In public spaces, call 911 to report downed power lines.

"Certainly if you have branches down in your yard, we don't want you getting near them if it's also brought down the electircal wire," said Bundy. "Always treat down wires as energized and it's best just to stay away from them and call us."

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Storm damage reports flooded 911 as homeowners and emergency crews assessed damage after a line of thunderstorms moved through Sedgwick County.

The storms hit Wichita around 7 p.m. Thursday, bringing damaging straight line winds. Mid-Continent Airport reported a gust topping 89 mph. The storm brought heavy rain, causing flood warnings in Barton and Sedgwick counties for several hours.

Sedgwick County dispatchers reported about 100 power lines fell throughout the area. Some of those power lines fell down on homes, trees and business, arching and starting some fires. A KWCH employee witnessed a downed power line cause a house fire near 2nd and Yale around 7:45 p.m.

Other fires were reported in the northern edge of the county, as well as in Derby. A heating and air conditioning business on K-15 suffered severe damage after a fire broke out shortly after the storm moved through. It is believed those fires were storm-related, although the cause remains under investigation.

It appeared the storm hit west Wichita the hardest, with multiple homeowners reporting toppled trees, damaged homes and structures. Some trees blew into homes, but no one was hurt. A few semis were also turned over due to strong winds, one of the drivers was taken to a Wichita driver for treatment.

Debris in the road made it difficult for drivers in Haysville. Emergency crews told dispatchers there were multiple power lines down and tree limbs blocked traffic.

Before the weather moved into Wichita, the storms caused severe damage in McPherson, Ellsworth and Harvey Counties. Trees fell into homes, other were uprooted and limbs fell into streets and lawns. Viewers sent in pictures of damaged cars after the wind caused carports to tumble. The Harvey County Sheriff's office said power poles and were lines down on HWY 50 from Ridge to Essex. Some people trapped in their cars unable to get out because of the downed lines.

Sumner county dispatchers said the towns of Oxford and Caldwell were without power. Some power outages have been reported in Wellington due to down power lines.

At its highest point, Westar reported about 23,000 people were without power in Sedgwick County. Westar said crews will work throughout the night and Friday to restore power to those left in the dark. The utility company hopes to have all power restored by Friday night.

Call 1-800-LIGHT-KS to report power outages.

10 pm update storm damage
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