Chesterton Tribune

Storm cuts power to downtown Chesterton; thousands of NIPSCO customers in the dark

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At deadline today—or what would have been deadline—the Chesterton Tribune was without power, following a rush-hour storm which gusted through Duneland but absolutely rampaged south of here.

At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, NIPSCO was reporting 11 outages in Duneland affecting 1,411 customers, many of them in and around the Downtown.

NIPSCO was also reporting, however, 132 separate outages in the greater Valparaiso area and fully 5,550 customers there in the dark.

Territory-wide, a total of 64,052 customers was juiceless at mid-morning. In Kouts, 769 customers. In Westville, 688. In LaPorte, 1,706. And many thousands in Lake County.

Despite the multiple blackouts here, Duneland largely dodged a bullet, Chesterton Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg said. “It was a big line of storms. But the closer it got to us, the red (on the radar) began turning to orange and yellow. We lucked out.”

Maybe half a dozen large branches, both private and public, were shaken loose from trees, Schnadenberg noted, and those “will contribute to our cleanup” from last week’s late-night storm. But though the morning skies went eerily black—think eclipse—there wasn’t enough rain to cause any flooding and by and large Chesterton escaped unscathed.

A large willow tree did fall in a yard in the 100 block of West Porter Ave.—in fact, it looks as though it was simply uprooted—but it apparently missed the home only a few feet away.

In Porter, Public Works Director Brenda Brueckheimer gave much the same account of things. “We’re okay,” she said. “Some power outages. A tree down at Mineral Springs and Howe roads. It took out a power line. But otherwise we’re okay.”

Center and South County, on the other hand, were less fortunate.

David James, assistant superintendent of the Porter County Highway Department, was reporting a “plethora of trees down,” wires as well, and numerous roads closed, including Ind. 8.

“We got slammed down here,” James said. “Most of Kouts is without power. In places the trees look like a picket fence that had just been blown over. Wind shear for sure. From Division Road south, we got really slammed, excluding the Town of Hebron, which looks like it missed the brunt of it.”

The REMC appears to have gotten the worst of it too, James added. “NIPSCO’s busy too but my guys are calling in more REMC pole numbers than NIPSCO pole numbers.”

“It’s going to take a couple of days to get this mess cleaned up,” James said.

Sgt. Larry LaFlower, spokesman for the Porter County Sheriff’s Police, told the Tribune that the 911 Dispatch Center was inundated this morning with calls about trees down, across roads, on vehicles, in homes. So far, he said, there have been no reports of injuries.




Posted 7/24/2012