Nebraska Public Power District says a major thunderstorm in the south-central part of the state Friday night seriously damaged a 345 kilovolt transmission line between Grand Island and McCool, knocking out power to about 8,500 customers.
NPPD spokesman Mark Becker says 84 poles and other structures are broken or are on the ground with wire from the transmission line laying on the lines of local rural power districts and across Union Pacific Railroad tracks, halting train traffic.
The wire was also on the ground near the Aurora exit of Interstate 80, slowing traffic on both I-80 and Highway 14 to a crawl and creating a large backup.
Becker says NPPD transmission crews began working with the Nebraska State Patrol about 9:00 AM MT to remove the wire from the roadways and return traffic to normal conditions.
NPPD has been doing similar work with the railroad and the affect local rural public power districts. NPPD crews from throughout the state have been called in to assist local crews.
Communities served by NPPD that saw power outages included:
Plattsmouth – approximately 3300 customers
McCook – approximately 2100 customers
Aurora – approximately 800 customers
Kearney- approximately 1300 customers
Meadow Grove – 191 customers
Tilden- approximately 800 customers