FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Power is back on for more than 90 percent of the 41,00 Indiana Michigan Power customers affected by the derecho that swept through northeast Indiana and southwest Michigan on Monday, officials announced Thursday afternoon.
As of 9 p.m. Thursday, about 3,600 customers remained without service in Waynedale and western Fort Wayne, officials said in a statement. That, along with the heat, is making restoration challenging for the 1,200 employees and contractors trying to restore power.
“I&M understands the frustration and discomfort of not having power – especially air conditioning,” officials said in a statement. “I&M is using all available resources to restore power as quickly as possible.”
Monday’s storm caused extensive damage to a number of areas, particularly Waynedale, southwest Fort Wayne, the Tri-Lakes area north of Columbia City and portions of southwest Michigan. This damage requires extensive repairs, officials said.
Crews have discovered more than 340 broken or heavily damaged poles, more than 60 damaged transformers and nearly 700 individual spans of down wires.
Customers in the Avilla area are expected to have power restored by 6 p.m. Thursday, the company said.
While cleanup and power restoration continues, the company warned people to stay away from downed power lines, be cautious around debris and fences, know that traffic signals may not be working and to not approach workers.
When using generators, the company reminded people to connect all appliances directly to the generator. Do not connect a generator’s electrical output to any home or building electrical circuits, and do not use a gas-powered generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space.