Chesterton Tribune



100s still without power after storm; wind damage is heavy

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Jim Ruge, owner of the Schoolhouse Shop & Antiques on C.R. 1500N in Westchester Township, is reporting three NIPSCO poles snapped near his business and at least five trees down, after Tuesday night’s storm.

Meanwhile, late this morning 413 NIPSCO customers in Porter, 968 in Valparaiso, and three in Beverly Shores were still without power.

Ruge--who, without electrical service himself, was unable to open the Schoolhouse Shop today--told the Chesterton Tribune that “it looks like a tornado went through, lines are hanging down everywhere”; while a Tribune employee who lives on Brummitt Road in Pine Township said that “it looks like someone went through the neighborhood with a wood chipper, everything’s shredded.”

At 10:58 a.m. today NIPSCO was reporting 1,637 total outages in its service territory--down from more than 20,000 at the peak of the storm--with more than 360 specific “incidents and cases of damage.”

“The storm affected customers largely in the Lake, Porter, and LaPorte county areas, with the most significant damage experienced in Valparaiso and Porter, where more assessment and repair work are needed,” NIPSCO said.

NIPSCO was hopeful--“based on the best information we have at this time”--that power would be largely restored to the Valparaiso and Porter areas between 6 and 10 p.m. today; and to the Michigan City areas between 12 and 2 p.m. today.

“Your safety is critical,” NIPSCO said. “And we understand that any service outage is an inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding while crews continue to work around the clock.”

“Following an assessment of the damage, NIPSCO’s restoration process begins with repairing large transmission and distribution lines that supply electricity to large numbers of customers in large geographic areas, including critical customers in hospitals and emergency response,” NIPSCO noted. “Repairs to other lines that serve smaller customers can’t be made until the larger lines feeding electricity to those areas are repaired.”

“When crews work on damaged trees during storms, they focus on repairs that are critical to our facilities and to restoring power and do not clean up or remove branches and debris that may be left behind,” NIPSCO added. “Contact your local municipal officials for more information on storm debris removal.”

At 6:54 p.m. Tuesday a storm spotter in Portage reported a wind gust estimated at 60 miles per hour with numerous trees and power lines down, the National Weather Service said.

The Town of Chesterton, on the other hand, fared mostly well, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg said. Perhaps half a dozen large tree limbs were downed but no actual trees on municipal property were lost. “For the most part it was just a lot of tree debris and leaf litter.”

Schnadenberg noted that the Street Department removes 30 or so hazard trees every year, precisely to keep them from toppling in storms.

A tree on private property did fall on a house, however, in the 200 block of Westchester Ave.





Posted 9/26/2018




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