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Storm downs power lines: Ellsworth and Magnolia left in dark

Power crews work to clear transmission lines after high winds snapped up to 90 power poles at the junction of Interstate 90 and 190th Street near Magnolia. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)1 / 2
Power crews work to clear transmission lines after high winds snapped up to 90 power poles at the junction of Interstate 90 and 190th Street near Magnolia. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)2 / 2

ELLSWORTH — Multiple communities and rural households throughout Rock and Nobles counties went dark Friday morning after a transmission line fell victim to straight-line winds.

According to the Nobles Cooperative Electric Facebook page, about 90 transmission poles tumbled down around 7:40 a.m. Friday morning across the roadway from Interstate 90, north and south of the Magnolia exit.

Area communities affected included Ellsworth, Hills, Beaver Creek, Magnolia, Kanaranzi, Steen and Lester, Iowa.

According to Carrie Law, director of communications and government relations for Sioux Valley Energy, multiple crews collaboratively worked throughout the day to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.

“There’s a lot of line to rebuild, and we may have some (electric customers) off overnight, but we’ll keep working as long as we can today safely,” Law said Friday afternoon.  

Energy crews working on repairs included Nobles Cooperative Electric, Sioux Valley Energy, Redwood Electric Cooperative, Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative, East River Electric and Karian Peterson Construction.

As of 3 p.m. Friday, Ellsworth and Magnolia remained dark due to the need to rebuild the entire transmission line. Power was not expected to return to the Nobles County and Rock County communities for 48 or more hours — eliciting a response from emergency response crews.

According to Nobles County Emergency Manager Joyce Jacobs, members of the Ellsworth Fire Department began going door-to-door Friday afternoon to check on residents and assist with getting them to the Parkview Manor Nursing Home, which had been the designated location for elderly individuals who will be unable to tolerate the cold temperatures.

“The big concern, of course, is our elderly residents,” Jacobs said.

A generator was also at the fire hall for residents needing warmth and access to water and sewer.

“We’re making sure those critical facilities have power,” Jacobs said Friday afternoon.

Prior to rain turning to snow, Jacobs urged area residents to refrain from travel.

“Once it turns to snow, travel will become difficult — if not impossible — and it will certainly be dangerous,” Jacobs said Friday afternoon. “If people stay home, that means our rescue or first responders can then be available to the emergency situations they can respond to.”  

Other wind damage was caused throughout Nobles County early Friday, Jacobs said.

Grain bins near Rushmore and trees near Adrian met their demise, but Jacobs reported no injuries and said that Ellsworth posed the biggest concern.

A 3:30 p.m. Friday Nixle alert announced a blizzard warning had been extended to 1 a.m. Sunday for Cottonwood, Jackson and Nobles counties. The forecast called for possible 50 mile per hour wind gusts producing white-out conditions, with blowing and drifting snow.

Saturday morning could average 1 to 2 inches of snow accumulation per hour leading into Saturday afternoon. Total snow accumulation was projected between 9 and 12 inches, with localized amounts up to 15 inches.

The city of Worthington declared a snow emergency at 4 a.m. Saturday. All vehicles must be removed from the street until the emergency is lifted.

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