Blizzard causes power outages

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Update:
More power outages have been reported as Saturday's blizzard continues.

As of 4:15 P.M. Black Hills Energy is reporting more than 1,600 customers in the Black Hawk area along Highway 79 West are without power. Crews are working to restore power and the company says they hope to have the lights back on in the next 2-4 hours.

The Black Hawk Fire Department has opened up their fire hall as a shelter. They are seeking snowmobile riders to help transport people.

Meanwhile, the South Dakota Rural Electric Association (SDREA) has updated their numbers as well:

- Pennington County: 3,050 customers
- Custer County: 1,505 customers
- Brule County: 73 customers
- Oglala Lakota County: 68 customers
- Fall River County: 8 customers
- Lake County: 8 customers
- Lawrence County: 8 customers
- Moody County: 8 customers
- Aurora County: 6 customers
- Buffalo County: 6 customers
- Lincoln County: 6 customers
- Davison County: 5 customers
- Jerauld County: 2 customers
- Brookings County: 1 customer
- Haakon County: 1 customer

Most of the outages come from the Black Hills Electric Cooperative, INC.

Original story:

More than 1,500 people are already without power since the winter storm moved into Western South Dakota.

As of noon on Saturday, the South Dakota Rural Electric Association (SDREA) has reported numerous outages across the state:

- Pennington County: 1,707 customers
- Custer County: 50 customers
- Oglala Lakota County: 16 customers
- Moody County: 8 customers
- Lincoln County: 6 customers
- Meade County: 4 customers
- Brule County: 3 customers
- Lake County: 2 customers
- Brookings County: 1 customer

Additionally, Black Hills Energy is also reporting scattered outages in Deadwood and Southeast Rapid City. So far those outages are affecting less than 10 customers in each area.

If you are faced with a power outage, here are some tips from the West River Electric Association, INC.

- If service is interrupted, check your circuit breakers or fuses.

- If all your service is off, check to see if your neighbors have power.

- Report promptly if you think the trouble is on West River Electric's lines. When reporting an outage, or anything unusual, be sure to give your account number, location address, and phone number.

- Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer whenever possible. Food should stay fresh for at least 24 hours if the door is seldom opened.

- Disconnect televisions, computers and all sensitive electric equipment to prevent damage when power is restored.

- For extended outages or outages in severe weather situations, remember to check on the elderly and housebound people in your area.