News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 16, 2010

Storm slams Vigo again; leaves 3K without power

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A second powerful thunderstorm in two days left thousands of Vigo County residents without power Tuesday evening.

The storm, which struck the Terre Haute area about 6 p.m., downed power lines and left about 3,000 Duke Energy customers without power. A storm Monday had caused power outages for a similar number of Duke Energy customers, although power had been restored to most of them by late Tuesday afternoon, a Duke official said.

Tuesday’s storm, which included heavy rain and lightning, came as cleanup efforts from Monday’s storm were still under way.

Meanwhile, the Terre Haute Street Department worked all day Tuesday to open roads closed by downed trees and limbs, said Bill Glass, assistant to Terre Haute Street Commissioner Brad Miller. Most of the worst storm damage Monday was in northern Vigo County, he said. Cleanup efforts were still under way late Monday in the Highland neighborhood near North 13th Street and Fort Harrison Road.

“That area was hit real hard,” Glass said.

Damage from Monday’s storm was also visible in other areas of the city, including along Park Avenue on the city’s north side. Whole trees were uprooted in some areas near the North Terre Haute Little League baseball diamonds.

Duke Energy, which had hired contractors and brought in outside Duke employees to work Monday’s storm damage, kept crews on standby in the Terre Haute area Tuesday as the second storm approached, said Duke Energy spokesman Rick Burger.

Burger estimated most power in Vigo County would be restored by around 8 a.m. today. The Duke Energy Web site indicated most of the outages from Tuesday’s storm took place in north-central Vigo County. Large numbers of outages were also reported in and around downtown.

In returning power to customers, Duke first works to restore power to hospitals, nursing homes and customers on life support systems, Burger said. Second priority is given to large blocks of customers, and lastly, the company addresses customers in isolated groups of one or two who have no power, he said.

Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning for Vigo, Clay, Sullivan, Green, Parke and Vermillion counties. The warning was to remain in effect until midnight. The weather service estimated about 1 inch of rain fell in the Wabash Valley on Tuesday. Some areas received up to 2 inches, the weather  service said.

The National Weather Service forecasts only a 10 percent chance of rain today and no rain was in Thursday’s forecast as of Tuesday evening.

Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.