By Carol Mills
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
A line of thunderstorms that hit the area early Thursday morning caused numerous power outages and toppled a large tree that landed inside the home of James and Rhonda Brooks on School Street in East Bernstadt.
The tree fell on the roof, crashed through the ceiling, missing their daughter Sarah’s bed by two feet.
No one was injured.
While the majority of homeowners reported only minor damage, outdoor furniture and playground equipment were blown down.
“We had a big swing set to blow over. It’s a pretty big one, with a big slide and tree house on top,” said Shelia Hendrickson Bingham, resident of American Greeting Card Road. “Tree limbs were everywhere.”
The storm also took a toll on vegetable gardens.
“Thankfully, the worst damage was to my garden, but then, that is how we are going to feed ourselves,” Melanie Gross said. “It laid my corn down and twisted up a lot of my squash. Hopefully, it will be OK.”
Jackson Energy officials reported about 2,500 outages in Clay and Laurel counties after the storms moved through southeastern Kentucky. Two broken poles were reported in the Keavy area of Laurel County and one broken pole is in the Pigeon Roost area of Clay County, near the Laurel County line.
By 8 a.m. on Thursday, the outages were down to 1,115, with 200 in Laurel County and the remainder in Clay County.
“Several downed power lines have also been reported,” said Karen Combs, Jackson Energy’s director of public relations, “and we want to remind everyone to stay away from downed power lines and report them to power company officials. Downed power lines may look like they don’t have electricity flowing through them, but they can still be carrying power through the line and are a danger.”
Jackson Energy operations officials expect repairs to continue throughout the day on Thursday.
To report an outage or a downed power line, call 1 800-262-7480. Co-op members can also access outage information on the co-op’s web page, www.jacksonenergy.com. A Power Outage Information link on the home page provides current outage updates on a map of the Jackson Energy service area.
Kentucky Utilities customers also suffered outages.
“About 550 customers lost power,” said Cliff Feltham, statewide media relations manager. “They weren’t all in a single location but rather scattered across the city with some outages in the Lily area as well.”
The cause was all attributed to the storm, mostly the strong winds. In most cases, it was tree limbs falling into power lines.
“We’ve reduced the outage number to about 15 customers now and those should all be restored by noon today (Tuesday).