More than 4,000 Columbia Water and Light costumers were without power Tuesday after the second snowstorm in less than week hit the Columbia area.
Power went out at about 5:30 a.m. and was completely restored by 5 p.m., Columbia Water and Light spokeswoman Connie Kacprowicz said.
“One large circuit went out from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and then there was another large circuit that went out at 5:50 a.m. until 8:30 a.m.,” Kacprowicz said. “That was the majority of the outages that we had, the rest were spread throughout town and smaller.”
The Electric Division of Columbia Water and Light responded to the outages immediately after they were reported, Kacprowicz said. The crew also assisted with snow removal efforts.
Columbia resident Umama Khenissi experienced a power outage at her house from 3 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. She said some of her friends experienced more prolonged power outages than she did.
“Some family friends that live in the north side of town didn’t have power all day (Wednesday) and the day the power went out, so they were out of power for two days,” Khenissi said. “We were fine because we had a stove so we were able to keep heat that way, but there were some people who had no alternative.”
The outages were produced by heavy snow that caused tree limbs and power lines to sag over roadways, according to a Columbia Water and Light news release.
Columbia Water and Light has a routine tree-trimming program, which helps prevent trees limbs from falling near power lines during severe weather events.
“This type of weather event (Tuesday’s snowstorm) shows why tree-trimming is important,” Kacprowicz said. “We spend a lot of time educating the public about planting the right tree in the right place and keeping those large trees back away from overhead power lines.”
Columbia Water and Light officials said in a news release that citizens should report downed lines and power outages immediately by calling the 24-hour outage emergency number.
Power outages were also reported in other areas of Boone County. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, as many as 11,000 Boone Electric customers were reported without power.
By 3 p.m. Wednesday, 27 crews, including Boone Electric, Columbia Water and Light and mutual aid crews, were working to return power to Boone Electric customers.
In response to the Tuesday outages, the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross and church members opened an overnight shelter at the Broadway Christian Church. Cots, blankets and pillows were provided to Boone County residents who spent the night at the shelter.
Columbia Water and Light advised customers to take precautions when seeing downed lines. If trapped inside a vehicle that is contact with a power line, customers should stay inside the vehicle until help arrives.
“The most important thing is, if they see a downed line to stay as far away as possible from it and make sure that they don’t touch anything that’s touching that downed line,” Kacprowicz said.