An army of utility companies from several states are in the Black Hills, still trying to restore power to thousands of customers after that paralyzing snow storm over the weekend. But it hasn't been easy.
Crews are running into lots of problems; deep snow, downed trees and power poles and now with the warmer temperatures, soupy mud.
The record storm downed nearly 3,800 power poles and caused outages to thousands in the western part of the state. West River Electric Cooperative was hit hard.
"Our biggest problem now is just broken poles. We have 800 poles down that we are aware of and we're guessing another 300 to 400 more," West River Electric operations manager Mike Fletcher said.
But getting to those poles hasn't been easy.
Crews have been dealing with nasty conditions for days. First the wind and snow, and now the massive melt has created mud problems that are causing trucks and crews to get stuck.
"We have a National Guard unit with our guys helping pull them around and we have some contractors crews with track digger trucks," Fletcher said.
Butte Electric is making progress restoring power to about 95 percent of its customers.
"We have numerous downed trees on our lines, so it's taking our crews a little extra effort to remove all of the debris to get our lines put back up," Butte Electric Manager John Lee said.
Now that the snow and thick ice are melting, the work continues in a sloppy mess, but even some of the locals are getting involved.
"In our part of the country, we have numerous ranchers who lend and helping hand with tractors that were close by to pull us out, so we weren't stuck as long as usual," Butte Electric Manager John Lee said.
Most cooperatives hope to have power restored to everyone by Saturday.
For the latest updates on all the power outages, the South Dakota Rural Electric Association has a website that lists them by cooperatives and by counties.
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