The Wait For Power After The Blizzard

By Chris Earl, Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

MARION, Iowa - One stretch of Marion shows the long wait for power to come back on.

"This is the first long power outage we've had (that goes on) more than an hour," said Tim Steffen, who lives off Grand Avenue on the city's west edge.

Steffen was one of more than 23,000 people in Linn County who had no power at some point on Thursday, in the hours after the first major snow storm of the season hit Eastern Iowa. Nearly every school district cancelled class on Thursday, leaving houses full of children.

Just not houses full of power.

Steffen said he was working from home with his three kids when the power went out just before a web conference at 11 am. Hours later, Steffen was out in the harsh winds of the afternoon, shoveling his sidewalk and still pondering how to start his snowblower for the first time this season.

"Five years ago, we bought a generator for when we had a power outage for a whole day," said Steffen. "At some point, in the evening, I'll have to pull that out and get it started to charge the necessities like cell phones to keep us connected."

Three blocks east, Simon and Megan Peters were lighting candles in the basement to keep warm.

"It's pretty insulated and that's where most of our stuff is," Simon Peters said. "We have some candles so I think we'll be alright and I think we have some other places in Cedar Rapids that we can also go to as well."

On Thursday afternoon, Alliant Energy spokesperson Ryan Stensland said 13,500 were without power. Due to the high winds in the region, Stensland said this explains why some areas get power back while others may fall off-line.

Stensland said he understands the frustration those in the dark may experience but the plan is to have all customers at full power by Friday afternoon.

While that is still a long wait for those without a way to cook food or heat their home, Kristina Mensah of Marion said having nothing electric in her house does have a benefit.

"I'm spending a lot of time talking to family on the phone and other things I don't do very often," said Mensah.

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