Rural Whiteside County Residents Endure 12 Hours In The Dark - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rural Whiteside County Residents Endure 12 Hours In The Dark

Updated: Feb 19, 2013 10:31 PM CST
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High winds, freezing rain, and snow tend to reveal the weaknesses in our electric grid.

Hundreds of people throughout Whiteside County spent much of Tuesday and Monday night in the dark.

Trying to stay warm with the howling winds and bitter cold..

Neighbors say power outages are a part of life because of the way the electric grid is set up in the area.

The main power travels along highway 92.

Small branches of power lines will then reach up to homes and then dead end, rather than connect anywhere else.

Whenever one of those lines gets severed, the homes, get left in the dark.

"It does out here in the country quite a bit, but I'm not sure what happened last night other than that there were a lot of lines down not too far down, a couple miles down the road there," says homeowner Monica Medema.

Her family went in the dark around eight Monday night. They worked to stay warm as best they could until the lights came back on around three Tuesday afternoon.

"We had candles going, and we had gas, so we kept the burners on the stove going for quite a while, we just dressed in a lot of layers and sat underneath a lot of blankets."

Like a lot of homeowners the Medema's have a generator. Theirs runs off a tractor, but with an empty fuel tank, the Medema's were caught unprepared.

"Quite the fiasco with power being out here," says Lorraine Township Plow Driver Joe Zokal.

His home had electricity, but the town hall didn't. Potentially causing big problems in a snow storm.

"Roads won't get plowed if we don't have the pumps to fill them back up with fuel," says Zokal.

They keep the trucks filled with fuel for just such an occasion.

Fellow Plow Driver Rick Nelson says, "It's something you get used too, happens around here a lot, you can survive it."

He lost power around seven Monday night.

"Well you either have generators, or you have little heaters, radiant heaters we put in the house sometimes."

Com-Ed's power outage map showed power in the area was cut off because of broken poles and downed wires. It was fixed as crews made it into the area. Medema says if the power goes out again later this week, she's not staying put.

"If it does, I'm probably going to head into town and stay at somebody else's house, it was a bit much."

The federal government recommends keeping an emergency kit ready in case of a power outage.

Stock it with flashlights, batteries, and enough first aid supplies to last up to three days.