FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Indiana Michigan Power said Friday morning it expected to have power restored to all of its customers by 3 p.m.
At 5 p.m., the utility’s outage map still showed 908 without power, primarily in southwest Fort Wayne and the Waynedale area.
Still, that’s progress, after an estimated 2,400 I&M customers were still without power as of Friday morning. At one point there were tens of thousands of customers without power as the result of Monday’s record-setting storms.
I&M had originally estimated full restoration of to be achieved by 11 p.m. Thursday, however the extent of damage proved to be greater than originally thought.
Parts of Waynedale and sections of Aboite Township were especially hard hit.
The extent of damage continued to grow over the days and I&M’s latest assessment shows crews have found more than 340 damaged or broken poles, more than 50 damaged transformers as well as nearly 700 individual spans of downed wires. Fallen trees also hampered restoration efforts as crews must clear limbs from roads in order to access equipment that needed repairs.
Some 450 I&M workers were initially involved with power restoration efforts and that number has grown to more than 600 employees and contractors. Another 600 workers are arriving from utilities in Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Some of those workers arrived Wednesday morning. Crews will work 16-hour days until power is restored.
The National Weather Service reports a wind gust of 98 mph was recorded at Fort Wayne International, which is the strongest wind gust ever recorded. The previous record of 91 mph was set in 2012.
I&M prioritizes how it restores power in four steps:
- Main circuits delivering electricity to essential public safety facilities such as hospitals, 911 call centers, water treatment facilities, and police and fire stations
- Large areas of affected customers where single repairs can restore hundreds or thousands of customers each
- Small clusters of homes where single repairs restores dozens of customers each
- Individual lines of service where single repairs restore one or two homes each
Both KREMC and Northeastern REMC also reported significant outages in the thousands. NREMC shared a drone video of snapped power poles in Whitley County, near the SDI plant off U.S. 30.
The utility said its biggest issue for their customers was the transmission lines that feed the substations were destroyed. That could take a day to repair, a spokesman said.
This video from Tuesday shows the stretch of Illinois Road just west of Scott Road.
Power crews were working on Illinois Road on Wednesday. Watch:
A stretch of Aboite Center Road east of Homestead Road remained closed Wednesday as crews worked to repair power poles.
Remember to never touch a downed power line.