Sioux Falls, SD
Hurricane Sandy left an estimated 8.5 million people on the East Coast without power more than a week ago. Now crews from South Dakota are helping bring light to storm victims.
It caused massive amounts of damage to the East Coast and even dumped feet of snow in some areas. But for many, it wasn't the flooding that caused the most problems; it was the wind.
Now two power crews from South Dakota are in Long Island, New York, helping people put their lives back together. It's estimated that around 200,000 people are still without power in Long Island alone.
"Right now, today in fact, we’re in one of the worst areas I've seen so far on this little spur. There's uprooted, huge trees that are just tipped over and their root balls are sticking up out of the ground nine, ten feet and houses are smashed in," NorthWestern Energy Engineer Corey Kramer said.
Kramer, who is from Aberdeen, is part of an eight-man crew working to restore power to the East Coast. He says it looks a lot like a South Dakota wind storm, just on a bigger scale. And the people they're helping are extremely grateful.
"You wouldn't believe how fulfilling it is to have people come out and just express their gratitude. I've seen people give our lineman hugs, they bring us coffee and doughnuts, they're just ecstatic that we drove all this way to help them out. When we tell people where were from, they just, everyone’s like, 'South Dakota, really?'" Kramer said.
"The people out here have been very friendly, very happy to see us when we come in to their area. They’re pretty much around all day when were working in their area. Last Monday and Tuesday, we got power on to approximately 1,000 people in two days, just our crew from South Dakota," Sioux Valley Energy employee Steve Neises said.
Neises, a Colman resident, is also lending a helping hand but with a different eight-man crew.
"You know, it is enjoyable for us in that way of it, helping the people out. They've been out of power, I think most of them roughly seven to eight days now, which, I don't think this is something that they're used to," Neises said.
Together the crews have restored power to thousands of people and will be there at least two weeks.
Unfortunately, another storm is causing more power outages on the East Coast.