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Number Of Homes Without Power Expected To Grow

January 22, 2010, 6:21 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Number Of Homes Without Power Expected To Grow
Thousands in South Dakota are without power Friday night and some crews haven't even started trying to restore it.

Governor Rounds has declared an emergency and opened the Emergency Operations Center in Pierre. But the situation across the state is only expected to get worse.

Nearly 6,500 customers with 15 rural electric customers are without power as of Friday afternoon and more than 2,500 power poles have broken off because of the ice, rain and wind that is hitting the area. State officials say that is the biggest concern right now with this storm that is moving in.

Xcel Energy is reporting power outages to 1,500 customers west of Sioux Falls in Salem and ten other communities.

One of the hardest hit areas is Central Electric in the Aurora, Davison and Jerauld county areas where an estimated 1,500 customers are without power. And state officials say the number of customers being cut off from electricity is only going to grow.

"I would anticipate our member systems on the eastern half of the state moving north from Brookings are probably going to experience significant damage over night," Ed Anderson with South Dakota Rural Electric Association said.

Officials with the state Office of Emergency Management say several communities have already requested generators and emergency shelters have already been set up in Eagle Butte, Faith and Dupree in Western South Dakota.

Friday afternoon, state officials said this storm could rival the ice storm that hit South Dakota just after Thanksgiving in November 2005.

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