Neighbors Spend the Day in the Dark as Crews Work to Restore Power

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The number of Alliant Energy customers without power soured above 40,000 at one point. Now, it's down down to about 1,000 in Linn County.

It's been a long 24 hours for people living in this Cedar Rapids neighborhood near 1st Avenue and 12th Street Southwest. Their power went out at around 11:00 Sunday night. Monday they spent their day waiting for it to come back on.

"I haven't really been able to get out of the driveway, power lines in front of our driveway. There's nowhere we could go," said Kris Howell.

The neighbor's tree created the mess when it came down on a distribution line.

"When it came down it took down this distribution power line right here and kind of was a domino effect because it took the rest down too," said Alliant Energy's Heather Holmes.

Cristena Core said she left last night twenty minutes before the storm hit. The massive tree came down right where she parks her car. She's not only thankful for that, but she's also looking for the silver lining in this whole outage mess.

"I don't have any air conditioning, so I can't sleep and my food is melting," Core said. "So, it's not very wonderful. But given that it's a nice day outside, it's not horrible either."

At the peak of the storm, Alliant Energy says Cedar Rapids had 33,000 customers without power. Businesses along 1st Avenue Northeast tried to keep their doors open. EZ Pawn had generators going and Wendy's was dark inside with signs on all of the doors saying "no power."

"That was a sizable amount of people out and just given the number of poles that were down, dozens of poles, power poles and distribution poles and there are larges poles called transmission lines and transmission poles, and we had dozens of those as well," Holmes said.

After a long day, neighbors near 1st Avenue SW simply didn't want to be in the dark any longer.

"I'm going to sit here and hope my power comes back on, and if not, I'll probably go to the laundromat or read the paper or something," Core said.

Some of the neighbors in the southwest neighborhood said they had power on at around 6:00 Monday evening. An Alliant Energy spokesman said the last one thousand to two thousand customers could be without power through the night. He said crews found more damage than expected when the work started after last night's storm. That will take longer to fix.
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