FREDERICKTOWN, Mo - Thousands of Missourians had their lights back on Friday as electric cooperatives in southeast Missouri continued to make progress on restoring power in the wake of the Winter Storm "Q." As of 3:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 22, approximately 4,400 co-op members were without power, down from a peak of more than 20,000 on Thursday.
Hardest hit among the state's electric co-ops is Black River Electric, Fredericktown, where a majority of the outages - about 4,000 - are concentrated. John Singleton, manager of marketing for the co-op, said that as of Friday afternoon, the co-op's lines were free from ice.
"Everything so far has been tree damage," he explained. "Trees and branches are falling and taking the power lines down with them. Trees that didn't break are shedding ice now and springing back up."
Crews from cooperatives unaffected by the storm - including Citizens Electric, Ste. Genevieve; Crawford Electric, Bourbon; Cuivre River Electric, Troy; Gascosage Electric, Dixon; and Three Rivers Electric, Linn - were dispatched to assist Black River on Friday. Additional assistance is on the way from Laclede Electric, Lebanon; Intercounty Electric, Licking; and SEMO Electric, Sikeston. SEMO crews completed repairs to approximately 2,400 outages on their system early this morning.
Two other electric co-ops that suffered outages - Ozark Border Electric, Poplar Bluff, and Howell-Oregon Electric, West Plains - made great strides on Friday. With assistance from crews sent by Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric, Hayti; White River Valley Electric, Branson; Se-Ma-No Electric, Mansfield; and Webster Electric, Marshfield, Ozark Border Electric estimated outages at around 360 as of mid-afternoon Friday. Howell-Oregon Electric also had less than 200 outages, and officials from both systems anticipated that most everyone would have power by the end of the day.