COLUMBIA — Thousands of mid-Missourians have been left in the dark as power lines snap and trees buckle under the weight of ice.
According to the National Weather Service, storms over the past few days have been more severe in southern Boone County than in Columbia. Late Tuesday afternoon, about 400 homes, most of them located in Ashland, were without power, said Boone Electric Cooperative spokeswoman Christi Miller. Earlier in the afternoon, 280 homes were without electricity.
“The trees keep coming down,” Miller said.
And south of Ashland, the situation is much worse.
At 5 p.m. Tuesday, about 11,500 AmerenUE customers from Jefferson City to the Lake of the Ozarks area were still without power, with 7,000 out in Jefferson City, according to AmerenUE’sWeb site. Jefferson City’s population was 39,274 in 2006, according to U.S. Census records online.
Al Lynch, an assistant manager at Boone Electric Cooperative, said crews have been working almost continuously since 1 a.m. Sunday to restore power in Boone County. Lynch said the main circuits are up and running, but individual service connections at some homes still need to be restored.
In Ashland, live wires and downed trees have prompted the city to close off some streets. No water line breaks have been reported yet, said Wade Middaugh, a utility clerk with the city of Ashland.
Ashland City Administrator Chris Heard said the city has been triaging calls to electric companies and working to keep roads free of debris. Newer subdivisions have power because most of their connection lines are underground, safe from falling trees, he said.
It’s a different story downtown.
“I went downtown to pick up a newspaper and it looked like a disaster area with all the trees down,” said David Thomas, an Ashland alderman.
John Sutherland, also an Ashland alderman, has seen a lot of downed trees in his neighborhood.
“This whole area is really bad. The weight of the ice has pulled branches and sometimes whole trees down,” Sutherland said. “Almost every street you go on in town has some damage because of the trees.”
Heard said police and emergency services have not responded to any major incidents, although police have conducted a few welfare checks to make sure residents are OK.
Residents in Ashland can take the wood from downed trees to the Ashland city yard waste lot on the corner of Redbud Lane and Bass Street, Middaugh said.