Strong winds seen across KOTA Territory

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 5:07 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Chicago is known as the Windy City, but recently, the Black Hills could claim that title from the Illinois Metropolis.

Meteorologist David Stradling said on Wednesday in Buffalo, S.D., they had sustained reports of 76 mile per hour winds, and even a report of a 93 mile per hour gust, which is equivalent to a category 1 hurricane.

With high winds comes concerns about power outages. The Vice President of Operations at Black Hills Energy, Marc Eyre, said there are no major outages or damages to their infrastructure.

“You know, we would anticipate with the high wind warning continuing, that we’re going to have some outages in the area,” said Eyre. “There’s a variety of ways it can impact-- we can see damage to the pole itself, or components on the pole. We’ve also seen, what’s more prevalent, is vegetation, trees, other things, debris from outside the right of way getting blown into the power line.”

Eyre said Black Hills Energy crews responded Wednesday night and overnight and into Thursday to a number of small, scattered outages across the area.

“Safety is our number one priority and I would say the message most important we could provide is just to stay safe around power lines,” said Eyre. “With these high winds, it is possible to come across a downed power line, and so, we just remind the public and our customers to treat every downed power line as if it is energized- stay away, call 911 right away and we’ll respond and make the situation safe. While you’re waiting, make sure that you keep people, as well as pets, away from the downed line.”

As more people work from home during the pandemic, Eyre said reliable power is a high priority.

“As we have more people working from home, and so having safe, reliable power is more important than ever, so that’s something that we take seriously and prioritize,” said Eyre. “Outages are inconvenient, and so, we just ask for customers’ patience as we try to restore power. With the windy conditions, it can be very challenging to make those repairs.”

As of 2:45 Thursday afternoon, there were 71 confirmed outages in the Black Hills Energy service area. Click here for a link to their outage map.

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