(KTVI) - The winter storm pounded Metro East. Ameren Illinois workers were placed on alert status Wednesday morning. They began preparing for weather related problems long before the first flake fell. Ameren Illinois opened the company’s emergency operation center to deal with all the damages.
500 employees and contractors are currently working to repair the damage. They have reports of 100 broken or leaning poles and 300 downed wires. In the Granite City area strong winds broke power poles like toothpicks cutting power. Crews are rushing to make repairs. They began preparing for the storm Tuesday so they could hit the ground running this morning. They said they have a “robust restoration plan.”
By late morning some 25,000 customers were knocked off line in an area that stretched from Sparta up to Hillsboro, Illinois. Crews from northern Illinois and states like Wisconsin and Kansas are on their way to Metro East to help. John Barud is the Senior Director, Division of Operations for Ameren Illinois. He said, “It’s a combination of things the winds especially this morning caused some of our issues but then when you get snow on the line that creates a sail affect. The wind catches it and the lines will start bouncing up and down… which causes problems.”