A reported 1100 customers of the Rising Sun Municipal Utilities were without power for nearly 12 hours after a severe storm rolled through southeastern Indiana on Wednesday, Oct. 19th.
A tornado warning was issued shortly after 6 p.m. and sirens went off twice to warn residents to take cover.
There were no official reports of a tornado but winds of 70 miles per hour were recorded along with heavy rain and hail ranging from the size of a quarter to the size of a baseball in the Dillsboro area.
Most residents noted that this was the worst they’ve seen in town as they reflected back on the damage done to the Bear Branch area of Ohio County from the tornado of 1974.
Although there were many branches down throughout Ohio County, the county highway department put in just five overtime hours on Wednesday.
Eight members of the Rising Sun utilities put in 170 man hours, according to utility superintendent Shawn Guidace.
The major cause of the power outage was a tree that brought down a utility pole on S.R. 262 at the Bernard Housemeyer residence. Also a tree on Wilson Street snapped a line. “We couldn’t do anything until we got those two things fixed,” added Guidace.
Fortunately, workers from IMPA were in town doing utility pole replacement and were able to assist with the work on 262.
“The biggest challenge was time and safety,” said Guidace, along with rain continuing on Thursday.
Power was restored at 5:15 a.m. Thursday as electric was turned back on with no problems.
S.R. 262 was closed for repairs. A tour bus took the detour onto Nelson Road and got stuck trying to cut through the cemetery back to S.R. 262.
Power went out in part of Rising Sun above High Street on Sunday morning when a reclosure switch went bad.
This kind of storm is normally seen in the summer time. Residents can help out during outages by unplugging computers, TVs and anything thy can to help prevent any surge problems when power is restored. Keeping the refrigerator door closed is important, added Guidace.
On Monday, utility crews continued cleaning up secondary lines and making sure they had all the branches off.
Street commissioner Paul Bovard said his crew spent the first night moving branches out of the street and didn’t get the chainsaws out at night.
On Thursday, Bovard along with Bobby White, Doug Baker, and Tim Adams were busy in the rain of Thursday.
It’s normally leaf collection season and not tree chipping but the storm changed all of that. Another irony is that the brush dump had just been cleaned up, just in time to get filled up again.
The most noticeable damage in town was the press box and dugout at the softball field behind the Ohio County Elementary middle School.
On Wednesday evening, janitors were cleaning water from hallways. Coaches had students in the lockerroom during the tornado warning.
Schools were on a two hour delay on Thursday.
Ironically, it was a day set aside for an earthquake drill.
A utility pole by the track was leaning and students couldn’t walk between the two schools.
On Monday, superintendent Branden Roeder said there were six leaks reported in the roof at the high school and three at the elementary-middle school
“I’ve been doing phone tag with the insurance company,” he admitted.
The press box and dugout will be rebuilt and hopefully by this spring but it will depend to what extent by the insurance,