By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — Dealt a major blow by ‘Ole Man Winter, local officials are doing the best they can to cope with deplorable weather conditions.
It’s all due to the major winter storm that swept through the state overnight Saturday and Sunday.
There have been some reports of power outages due to the storm, including the Whittington area which was without power for about two hours Sunday night due to a scheduled maintenance outage.
Tri-County Electric Cooperative has had “scattered outages,” since the storm began, according to General Manager Marcia Scott. Tri-County serves Jefferson, Marion and Washington counties.
“Our worst problems have been in Marion County, in the Kinmundy-Omega areas,” she said, adding that crews have been out since about noon Sunday.
“Most of the outages have been due to icing on the lines and the wind, causing a galloping conductor, and we’ve had a lot of blinking lines,” she said, when power goes off and on intermittently.
Meanwhile, city and state crews are working on clearing roadways — plagued by sub-zero temperatures.
“We’re plowing the snow drifts and trying to stay warm. Saturday there were 10 people working, but we’ve been full staff since then on the roads and all the equipment is out. Salt and sand is basically a waste of time. We’re pushing snow and throwing some down, but the salt won’t work if the temperatures are below 15 degrees,” said Dale Mick, assistant Public Works department director for the City of Mt. Vernon.
“The temperatures are too low for the chemicals to work on the roads. We’re working to maintain what we’ve got, and plan to hit it hard Tuesday. We should be able to clean it up Tuesday. Right now we’re trying to keep the drifting clear of the roads,” said Kirk Harris, field technician out of the District 9 IDOT office in Carbondale.