Strife of the stormNumerous homes were without power and the Southwest Water Authority was advising customers to conserve water Friday as a storm moved into southwest North Dakota.
Numerous homes were without power and the Southwest Water Authority was advising customers to conserve water Friday as a storm moved into southwest North Dakota.
Power line and pole damage from a combination of ice, frost and wind have caused widespread power outages affecting many rural areas in Dunn, Billings, Stark, Oliver and Mercer counties. About a dozen Roughrider Electric Cooperative crews worked to restore power Friday.
There were several areas without water, which was expected until power was restored, according to a press release from Southwest Water.
More than 3,000 people across the Dakotas were without power Friday, according to The Associated Press.
The Schatz family, which owns two homes about 3 miles south of Taylor, are among those without power and stayed at the Dickinson Comfort Inn hotel Friday evening.
The family was without heat since early Wednesday morning.
“We only have electric heat, so we stayed the first night (at home) until about 4 the next morning and then we got too cold, so we went to a hotel,” Stacia Schatz said.
She said she returned to her home periodically to put warm water in bowls to melt ice for her pets.
The Schatz’s daughter, Marissa, missed school Friday and a portion of Thursday because they are staying in Dickinson.
“Insurance doesn’t cover having to stay in a hotel because the power’s out,” Stacia said.
The Comfort Inn of Dickinson also had a handful of other guests from power-outage areas and expected more, said Melissa Johnson, general manager.
AmericInn Motel & Suites of Dickinson Manager Mary Ann Sadowsky said about five people requested rooms because they had lost power. Sadowsky said the motel gave them special rates.
Dickinson Runnings Farm & Fleet Assistant Manager Justin Stastny said Friday afternoon that the store sold out of generators, selling about 60 in two days. A semi-load was on its way but could be delayed due to the storm, he said.
“I would say one of every two calls is probably a call for a generator,” Stastny said.
Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. has had few issues with power outages in the area, most only lasting 15 to 30 minutes, company spokesman Mark Hanson said.
There were reports of two down power lines to the Stark County Sheriff’s Department Friday morning, said Capt. Lawrence Kitzman.
North Dakota Highway Patrol Capt. Tony Huck said several power lines fell on to area roads Friday.
“The weight of the lines apparently snapped the power pole and it was leaning for a while,” Huck said of one incident. “We were out there waiting for the power company to show up and about the time they showed up, the one line snapped.”
Lines were down in Stark County, across Interstate 94, others near the Hettinger County line and in Dunn and Morton counties, he said.
The weather was also a factor as a truck jackknifed on I-94 near Taylor.
“We had the westbound lane blocked for awhile,” Huck said.
The Stark County Sheriff’s Department relies on those in need of assistance to call.
“They can call us and we’ll try to muster whatever resources we can think of and a lot of times we can get something done,” he said. “Hopefully we can find something to help them or find a Good Samaritan to take them into their home.”
Though Stark County Emergency Manager Brent Pringle and the local American Red Cross discussed opening a shelter, there is no plan to, Red Cross Manager Shirley Kallenbach said.
“I’m going to stay in contact with the police department and the sheriff and the emergency manager and just see how things progress,” she said. “This is why we constantly are saying, ‘please prepare for a situation like this.’”
She suggests when you hear of an upcoming storm to stock up on food, supplies and anything needed for pets and livestock and have a generator, if available.
— Ashley Martin contributed to this story.