High Winds Whip Through Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Storms lashed Kentucky with fierce winds
Wednesday amid springlike warmth, causing a new round of power
outages in a state recovering from a crippling ice storm that still
has thousands in the dark.
The latest power disruptions overlapped several outages from the
ice storm, leaving some customers without electricity for a second
time within a month. The high winds disrupted or slowed work by
some utilities to bring back electricity to areas still darkened by
the late January winter storm.
The ice storm is blamed for 33 deaths and for cutting power to
more than 700,000 customers at its peak.
The latest storm prompted the National Weather Service to issue
high wind and thunderstorm warnings amid springlike conditions.
Afternoon temperatures were mostly in the 50s and 60s.
Western Kentucky was pounded by sustained winds of 45 to 50 mph,
said weather service meteorologist Robin Smith in Paducah. Wind
gusts reached 63 mph at Paducah and near Madisonville.
The weather service received reports of downed trees and power
lines from the wind, Smith said.
In the western end of the state, some utility crews trying to
restore power from the ice storm were dispatched Wednesday to deal
with new outages.
At Murray State University, electricity was knocked off
Wednesday afternoon to two residential halls, the main library and
some administration buildings due to a broken power pole, said
university spokeswoman Catherine Sivills. Efforts to restore power
were being hampered by continued strong winds.
High winds also caused new outages to about 2,000 customers of
Jackson Purchase Energy who had gotten their power restored since
the ice storm. The utility serving six far western Kentucky
counties is still trying to restore electricity to several thousand
others in the dark since the ice storm.
The utility pulled some crews off restoration work from the ice
storm to deal with damage from the wind storm, said J. Patrick
Kerr, a utility spokesman.
Kerr said restoration work from the wind storm would amount to
"relatively quick fixes," and by late afternoon power was
restored to about half the customers affected by the wind.
About 8,000 other Jackson Purchase Energy customers are still
without power from the ice storm.
Further east, fierce winds knocked out power to about 9,000
Kentucky Utilities customers, mostly in the Elizabethtown,
Madisonville and Earlington areas, said utility spokesman Chip
"It obviously was some of the same customers" affected by the
ice storm, he said.
Meanwhile, the wind storm cut off power to about 2,100 LG&E
customers in Jefferson County, he said.
Kenergy spokeswoman Lisa Vincent said the wind storm caused
outages to about 2,000 additional customers, and slowed work by
crews to restore power to about other 11,000 customers still
without electricity from the ice storm.
"We haven't made a lot of progress today because of the
weather," she said.
Kentucky Public Service Commission spokesman Andrew Melnykovych
said Wednesday afternoon that 30,152 homes and businesses across
the state remained without power from the ice storm.
That's down from close to 770,000 customers without power at the
peak of outages.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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