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High winds cause power outage, tree damage

Staff writer

Marion’s Main St. was eerily quiet Friday morning, with many businesses closed because of a widespread power outage.

Overnight winds in the county, estimated to have been as high as 75 mph, downed electrical poles and numerous trees and branches.

Roger Martin, meteorologist at National Weather Service in Wichita, said they had no official reports of conditions in Marion County, but that the storm system that moved through the region had 60 to 75 mph wind gusts and heavy rain and flooding in some areas.

“It was more of a wind event than a flood problem,” Martin said.

Two power poles were broken in Marion and a large tree that fell across 4th St. had to be removed so traffic could pass. A small tree at 2nd and Main Sts. snapped at the base, and many other trees throughout the city lost branches.

Because of the power outage, Internet and cable service was also out, along with some residents’ telephone service.

Several businesses along Main St. closed.

Central National Bank and Marion State Bank had signs on the doors notifying customers they were closed. Marion Senior Center had no power. Lanning Pharmacy, the city coin laundry, and Case and Son Insurance were among those closed during the outage.

Other businesses or did their best to operate Friday morning in spite of the lack of electricity.

“I’ve been working with a flashlight,” Barry Allen said at Webster’s Auto Service. “Our hand tools work. I think I’ve got one vehicle done already.”

Martin’s Barbershop was open, and workers at Western Graphics waited for power to be restored before they could go to work.

Residential areas generally north of Main St. had outages as well.

Kendra Smith, who lives in the 500 block of N. Cedar, said late Friday morning that her electricity had been out for hours.

Linemen from Hillsboro, Moundridge, and Westar Energy came to help restore power.

At 4:15 p.m., all electricity was briefly shut down at the city substation while Moundridge utility workers replaced a piece of equipment on a utility pole.

The replacement restored service to most of the town, but some areas remained without power.

Central National Bank and Marion National Bank opened their drive-through windows for service. Most other downtown businesses in the outage area remained closed.

According to city administrator Roger Holter, the first in the chain of events leading to power outage for roughly 40 percent of the city was when a large branch fell on a line, taking it all the way to the ground. Next, lightning struck the city substation. Afterward other power poles were broken by high winds.

Travis Kohlrus, vice president of broadband service for Eagle Communications, said Internet services were lost for 65 percent of Marion customers during the power outage. The terminals require power to operate and battery packs that keep them operating last up to four hours.

Last modified Sept. 4, 2019

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