When will your power be back on in Lexington? The answer is likely days, not hours
If you’re one of the roughly 45,000 - 50,000 Lexington utility customers still without power, the answer to the question “When will the power be back?” is likely a matter of days.
Daniel Lowry with Kentucky Utilities said restoration efforts and assessments are ramping up, but most customers should expect only expect estimates for how long it might take on Sunday or Monday. Lowry compared the event to past extreme weather events, including the 2003 ice storm.
"You'd have many customers that were out for more than a week. So we hope that's not going to be the case this time, but this storm is in that realm."KU spokesman Daniel Lowry
Lowry noted the windstorm was KU's third most significant weather event in the last 20 years.
With the damage sustained – which is estimated in the millions – utility providers are first working down the list of priorities, starting with critical infrastructure, police and fire stations, hospitals, and street lights. Crews are coming in from out-of-state to aid in the restorations.
Anyone with a medical device requiring electricity who has not had their power restored is being urged to call 311.
Regardless of whether you have city garbage pickup, you can also bundle smaller debris – that’s 12 feet or less, 16 inches in diameter – and contact LexCall to have it picked up. Lexington residents can take storm debris to the former Old Frankfort Pike Landfill at no charge.
Residents with property damage are also being encouraged to document the damage and report it here, in the event the storm may qualify property owners for federal assistance.
Police, fire, and other emergency services received hundreds of calls during the worst of the storm, straining resources and requiring extra staff. One Lexington resident was killed in the storm and another seriously injured.
"Approximately 15 roadways are still blocked at this time," Police Commander Albert Johnson said Saturday afternoon.
Describing the influx of calls, Fire Chief Jason Wells said, "We were overwhelmed certainly during the height of this. We responded to about 300 calls throughout the day, including over 120 during one 4-hour period."
Wells warned, as power returns, there are continued risks.
"When service drops into homes are damaged and then power is restored, there is an increased likelihood for not only electrical hazards but also for fires," Wells said, cautioning residents to inspect the power wires coming into their home for damage and alerting an electrician if there is damage present.
Read the full city release:
Clean up began first thing this morning in Lexington, after a wind storm left trees on the ground, knocked out the electricity to thousands of homes, and left many intersections in the dark. Damage citywide is estimated in the millions.
“Like people all over our city, I was out in my yard this morning, picking up limbs, checking on neighbors, and on roof damage,” Mayor Linda Gorton said. “City workers have been out since the storm began yesterday, helping citizens stay safe, and now assisting in the clean up. On days like this I especially appreciate our city employees, who offer a helping hand and put the people they serve first. After all many of these people may be needed to clean up storm damage in their own yards.”
Gorton provided an update of storm clean up work:
Kentucky Utilities estimates that currently about 45,000 – 50,000 households and businesses in Lexington are without power. Ten schools are without power. The company hopes to have an estimated time of restoration tomorrow or Monday. This is the third most significant weather event in the last 20 years for KU, said KU spokesman Daniel Lowry.
KU crews continue to work around the clock to protect the public, assess and repair damage and safely restore customers. LG&E and KU have secured an additional 1,200 off-system resources from utilities from surrounding states. They are joining forces with the hundreds of LG&E and KU employees and area contractors in this massive, multi-day restoration event.
Police responded to over 300 weather-related calls overnight, including trees and/or wires blocking roadways, traffic lights not working, power outages, alarms and traffic hazards. Because of increased demand for service, officers were held over from first shift, and third shift came in early.
Power inverters were deployed in intersections without power to operate the traffic signals, and barricades were placed to alert motorists of blocked roadways.
As of noon today over 20 intersections were still without power and either being controlled with an inverter or motorists are treating them as a four-way stop. Approximately 15 roadways are still blocked due to trees or wires.
FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES
Fire also responded to almost 300 calls yesterday, including calls for downed wires.
There was one structure fire on Courtney Avenue that was likely caused by a tree falling on the electrical wires to the home.
To increase its numbers and respond faster yesterday, Fire staffed HazMat 1, Collapse Truck 1, reserve Engine 37, Engine 38 and L17 with company officers, Academy instructors and students.
Lexington residents can take their storm debris – trees and yard waste - to the former Old Frankfort Pike Landfill, 1631 Old Frankfort Pike, at no charge.
The site will be open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. beginning Sunday, March 5, to Friday, March 10. “We will extend that deadline, if needed,” Gorton said.
A Fayette County driver’s license or other proof of residence in Fayette County is required.
The entrance is off Old Frankfort Pike. The city will recycle the debris and turn it into mulch.
The Division of Traffic Engineering is working to get traffic signals up and operating. Currently there are about 20 traffic signals that are dark. Power inverters are in use at 25 signals. About 100 signals have twisted heads so motorists cannot see the face of the signal.
STREETS AND ROADS
Work continues to clear Lexington’s streets of storm debris. The Division has cleared 42 streets and has about 20 more to do.
Three city golf courses are closed because of downed limbs - Lakeside, Picadome and Kearney Hills.
The Lexington Division of Emergency Management is asking anyone who has experienced property damage in Fayette County due to today’s wind storm to report it here: https://www.crisistrack.com/public/fayetteKY/request.html .
The information will be used to determine total property damage from the storms in Fayette County.
State and federal funds may be available to offset some of the cost of storm damage, but it will take time for the assessment to take place.
This is not a promise of storm damage financial relief. This is for damage assessment only. Damages must be from the March 3, 2023 extraordinary wind event.
Reports will only be taken using this online form. Paper reports, emails or social media reports cannot be accepted.
When filling out the form, please note that some fields will automatically fill in, such as the address, city, state and zip code. Please attach any pictures you may have of the damage. Describe the nature of the damage in as much detail as you are able.
People who do not have electricity, but have medical devices that require electricity, can call 3-1-1 for assistance.