MOUNT VERNON — High winds ripped across Knox County, Wednesday night, wiping out power to more than 6,000 customers.
According to American Electric Power Ohio spokesman Jeff Rennie, 5,341 customers were without electricity this morning at 7:35, leaving a quarter of its customer base in the county in the dark.
“It’s widely spread throughout the county,” Rennie said of the outage. “It is mainly caused by power lines downed by the wind, trees toppled over on lines and broken poles.”
The Energy Cooperative said roughly 500 members were without power in the Palmyra substation area due to downed AEP transmission lines.
Rennie said AEPO has projected that 90 percent of its customers will be back online by midnight Friday. Company officials are expected to reassess the damage this morning and may revise the projection.
Consolidated Electric Cooperative Inc. is not reporting any power outages in Knox County as of press time.
Knox County Sheriff David Barber said sheriff’s deputies were busy Wednesday night with calls coming in regarding downed trees and power lines.
“[The storm] kept our dispatch center busy and our guys responded to a lot of alarms drops. When there is an interruption in power, it sets off a lot of alarms,” Barber said.
Trees and lines were down throughout the county, he said, and residents were helpful in letting the sheriff’s office know where the instances occurred. But he cautioned those who come across fallen trees to not try to move them from roadways.
“It’s really best just to let us know where the trees are and we can get the right crews there to take care of it,” Barber said. “People are really helpful, but you can’t tell if there are live wires in the tree.”
No injuries were reported during the storm, Barber said. Although there were trees that partially blocked some county roads, they continue to be passable.
“There wasn’t much traffic out last night. People were home where they should have been,” he said.
Barber said he spent part of the night monitoring the situation from his office and was out on the streets until after 12:30 this morning assisting the deputies. No additional personnel were called in to assist regular-shift deputies.
Mount Vernon Safety-Service Director Dave Glass said this morning that the city is faring quite well.
“There are about a half a dozen trees down, traffic lights are spun around, but nothing significant,” Glass said. “It’s really just small stuff crews are out working on right now.”
To report downed trees or power lines, Barber asks county residents to call 397-3333 in order to keep the 9-1-1 lines open for medical and fire emergencies.
Most county schools started out on a two-hour delay this morning but eventually canceled classes. East Knox, Fredericktown, Centerburg and the Knox County Career Center closed. Mount Vernon City Schools closed the high school, middle school and Twin Oak Elementary schools because of the power outage. The Mount Vernon High School girls basketball game Wednesday night was canceled after the power went out during the freshman game.