Friday storm leaves thousands in the dark

Mar. 8—It was a long weekend for many Laurel County residents who anxiously awaited restoration of electric power following Friday's wind and rain storms.

Many families reported power outages after high winds estimated at 50 mph, with torrential rainfall sporadically moving through the area throughout Friday.

Trees falling on power lines was a major culprit in the outages across the county. A fallen tree in southern Laurel County trapped a man inside a vehicle — fortunately, the man was not injured.

Crews from Jackson Energy and Kentucky Utilities were out throughout the weekend, working diligently to restore power to customers. Jackson Energy reported on Monday morning, the outages had been reduced to 3,500 people. The initial count of power outages reached over 14,000.

Jackson Energy President and CEO Carol Wright released a statement on Monday morning, commending the Jackson Energy crews for their relentless and dedicated efforts to repair broken lines and poles in the aftermath of the storm.

"An intense storm rolled across Kentucky on Friday evening bringing historic winds and hurricane-strength gusts with it, knocking out power to more than 14,000 Jackson Energy members. Jackson Energy is so grateful to our membership for their continued encouragement, support and patience. We recognize that for those still without power, it is a frustrating situation," Wright said. "We were formed to bring power to the last mile and when storms, like the one this past weekend, interrupt our ability to do so, we share in your frustration and are committed to doing whatever is needed to expedite power restoration.

"While we are grateful that relatively few homes and businesses were damaged, the 10 hours of relentless high winds caused significant damage to our electric infrastructure resulting in over 60 broke poles and numerous spans of downed wire.

"More than 200 field personnel are working to restore power, including mutual aid crews from multiple electric cooperatives from Kentucky and out-of-state.

"These crews are working long hours but share Jackson Energy's mission to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. As of Monday morning, power has been restored to all but 3,500 Jackson Energy members," Wright added.

"At Jackson Energy, the safety of our members and employees is our number one priority. We appreciate all of our crews continuing to work safely, yet diligently, to restore service to our member."