Columbus (WKOW)-- Close to 350 homeowners still didn't have power Tuesday morning after a storm swept through Columbus early Monday morning. City officials say that number has gone down dramatically after a dozen utility crews worked all day Tuesday to fix broken power lines. Some residents however, still won't have power restored until Wednesday.
"It's delicate work that those linemen are doing," says Columbus City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden. "They have to be careful for safety reasons to make sure everything is put back up and everything is working properly."
City officials say it's taking longer than expected to restore power, because the damage is so widespread. As of Tuesday afternoon there were still half a dozen neighborhoods in the city that still didn't have power.
Volunteers from the community have shown up in droves to help utility workers in the field. The Salvation Army has set up shop in the Columbus Senior Center where they're serving free meals and cold drinks.
"What we're doing here with the Salvation Army is doing disaster service, providing hydration services and meal services to the workers," coordinator Ted Bendler says.
City leaders gathered at noon on Tuesday to get an update on their cleanup efforts. They say city crews will start picking up downed trees and debris once power has been restored to the city. They're asking homeowners to bring their brush to the Columbus Recycling Center. Those who can't make the trip are asked to place their brush and debris near the sidewalk so city crews can pick it up later this week.
City leaders say some homeowners may need to have professional electricians come by to restore power on their end.
"Even though the power lines have been put back up and the power is restored, that individual property owner has to work with their electricians to get services," Vander Sanden explains. "We're trying to get that word out to people in the community."
The Red Cross has taken down their cooling shelter at the Columbus Middle School. Coordinators say less than 30 people showed up Monday evening and only one of them spent the night. Red Cross volunteers say they're standing by in case the community needs them to come back later this week.