Storms cause damage, power outages

2,000 Boone County homes lost electricity after trees downed five power lines.
Tuesday, July 6, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:29 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

When Estella Ball said she wanted a covered patio, she envisioned something slightly nicer than a huge, fallen tree covering her back porch.

Monday’s severe thunderstorms downed a large ash tree outside her mobile home in Sturgeon — ruining, among other things, a shed and the new lawn mower inside. Ball said the tree completely blocks her back door.

“We were standing at the back door looking at the first limb, and then we heard another crack and we started running,” she said.

The tree damaged part of Ball’s house, but hers was not one of the 2,000 homes in northern Boone County without electricity as a result of power lines broken during Monday’s storm.

Al Lynch, assistant manager of Boone County Electric Cooperative, said the company began receiving reports of power outages around 7:30 a.m., and crews began working on the five major lines downed because of fallen trees. By mid-afternoon, most homes had power, he said.

The Boone County Fire Department responded to 10 reports of possible downed power lines, Assistant Chief Ken Hines said, including Ball’s fallen tree. Hines said the department responds to all the reports it receives, as broken wires can electrocute people or spark fires.

Similar thunderstorms are expected today as a cold front moves in this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service Forecast Office in St. Louis. Some of the storms could be severe with damaging winds and hail. The weather is expected to be calmer Wednesday through Friday, but the chance for thunderstorms will return late Saturday and Sunday.

Hines said the fire department has trained its staff to handle the hazards of thunderstorm damage, but individuals need to prepare their homes, too. He said stocking up on batteries, food and water is one way to deal with a possible power outage before a storm hits.

“Severe storms are part of a lifestyle here in the Midwest,” he said. “We make sure our people have the skills to handle these emergencies.”

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