Winter Storm Kayla smacks Greene County

Greene County is digging out Wednesday from Winter Storm Kayla, a huge storm that hit most off the Midwest. For many Greene County residents, the battle is on two fronts – gravel roads that are impassable and power outages.

The storm, which volunteer weather observer John Beltz reports dropped 6.5 inches of heavy snow, started Monday night. An intermission Tuesday afternoon let the secondary roads crew achieve dry pavement on paved roads Tuesday afternoon, but they weren’t able to tackle the 750 miles of gravel roads, county engineer Wade Weiss said.

The snow picked up again with high winds Tuesday evening, as predicted, and the process began again. Weiss said each driver needs about two hours to drive his route, and that with high winds, the roads blow shut again in two hours.

The goal Wednesday is to keep the county’s 200 miles of paved road open and to make at least one pass on the gravel roads. The wind is predicted to die by late afternoon, and Weiss said at that time they hope to be able to push snow back away from the roads.

For a complete explanation of how the county road crews tackle plowing, click here.

Midland Power has been equally challenged by the storm. At 8:30 Wednesday morning, virtually all of the cooperative’s Churdan customers were without power, as well as more than 106 Scranton customers and 102 rural Jefferson customers.

Line crews from Humboldt and Iowa Falls assisted the local crews and by 11:30, only 33 Churdan customers, 20 Scranton customers and 48 rural Jefferson customers were still without power.

The outages were caused by “galloping” power lines, caused when ice builds up on one side of a power line as a result of strong winds. The ice changes the airflow around the line, making the line bounce. If adjacent lines bounce and buck enough to hit each other, there can be enough damage to cause a power outage.

Midland Power also dealt with outages Tuesday, but had power restored by the end of the work day.

The county crew played a role in power restoration. Weiss said secondary roads crews pulled at least two Midland Power trucks from ditches. “That slows our work, but they’re working to restore power so we help them out,” he said.

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