Thousands without power as strong winds hit central Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The effects of high winds are already being felt across central Indiana.

There are reports of power outages in multiple counties across the Hoosier State.

Here’s a look at outage numbers as of about 7:30 p.m.:

We’ve received reports of a 60 mph wind gust from Zionsville and a 58 mph wind gust from Purdue. There are numerous reports of trees down and damaged power lines across the state.

In Indianapolis, IPL officials say they have about 200 line crews and contractors working around the city to repair downed power lines. However, they say continuing wind is hampering those efforts.

“You have to be very mindful of employee safety because you don’t want our crews up in a bucket truck when you’re seeing 60 mile an hour winds,” Said Vice President of U.S. Utility Operations, Joe Bentley. “So we have to be very mindful of keeping not only the public but our crews safe during these kinds of events.”

Bentley said he expects repair crews will be working into the Thanksgiving holiday to restore power around the city. However, IPL won’t have a time estimate on getting things back to normal until the wind dies down.

“At this point in time we’re still kind of assessing when that’s going to be and we’ll have a better estimate once we get the winds to die down and understand where the damage is at,” Bentley said.

For many around the Indianapolis area, the timing of the power outages is putting a damper on their Thanksgiving preparations. Lauren Gentilini said she took Wednesday off work to prepare for the holiday, but there wasn’t much she could do without electricity.

“No laundry, no oven, no lights whatsoever,” Gentilini said. “I don’t even want to open my fridge because I don’t want stuff to go bad.”

Dave Barnett said he was watching the morning news and preparing some Thanksgiving side dishes when he heard a boom outside and his lights went out.

“They had it back on four about ten minutes and I reset my TVs and my clocks,” Barnett said. “Then about the time I got it all reset, it blew again.”

Vicki Finney said she was baking pies when she heard a loud noise outside her house and saw the tree next door had fallen onto her home.

“I thought my whole front porch came off, that’s how loud it was,” Finney said. “And I didn’t realize it was the tree, but it’s on top of the porch.”

Several businesses suffered damage or lost business due to wind as well. A Phillips 66 near I-65 and Keystone had to close its gas pumps Wednesday after high wind damaged its overhead canopy. The Beech Grove Jiffy Lube had to turn customers away when they lost power late Wednesday morning.

“Of course, I can’t do any business without power,” said General Manager, Mark Rodenbaugh. “I’ve had customers come out here and I’ve just sent them down to the other Southport location.”

A High Wind Warning remains in effect for counties north of Indianapolis until 9 p.m. A Wind Advisory is effect for counties south of Indy until 9 p.m.

You can track outages around Indianapolis on IPL’s outage map website. The map shows where individual outages are located and their estimated time of restoration.  You can also call (317) 261-8111 to report an outage or check on the status of repair efforts.

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