LUVERNE - Unlike the ice storm that hit Rock County six years ago this week, impacting residents in the southern half of the county, this time it’s communities and farmsteads in the northern half that are experiencing power outages.
Rock County Administrator and Emergency Management Director Kyle Oldre said Thursday afternoon that 645 of Sioux Valley Energy’s customers there are without power, primarily in the townships of Rose Dell, Denver, Springwater and Battle Plain. Sioux Valley Energy also reports that Pipestone County had 1,161 customers without power as of 2 p.m.
“The whole northern tier (of Rock County) has been out most of the day, and within the last hour and a half (around 12:30 p.m.), the city of Hardwick lost power,” Oldre said.
Warming stations were opened in Jasper and Hardwick this morning for area residents to get warmed up, charge devices and run oxygen concentrators, but now that Hardwick has lost power, just one station in Jasper remains.
“We’re in the middle of regrouping and figuring out where we go from here,” Oldre said, noting he’s been in contact with the Luverne-Pipestone unit of the National Guard. It’s possible the armory in Luverne will be opened - if it’s needed and residents are able to travel from points north of town.
Oldre said there are 71 power poles down north of Luverne, with lines along Rock County 6 snapped off.
“I’m guessing we started with a strong half-inch of ice,” he said. “The poles that went down, there was greater than an inch and a half or two inches of ice on them. Combined with the wind, it just took them right down.”