Residents without power due to the winter storm may be in the dark for a while. A news release from Steele Waseca Cooperative Electric Thursday stated, "Until the storm abates, power to most outages will not be restored for one to two days, and some may be without power longer depending on the final damage assessment."

Steele-Waseca General Manager Syd Briggs said, "Ten additional crews have been called in to assist restoration efforts."

Reports of power outages began early Thursday with many power poles snapping in Freeborn County. Power lines on or near Interstate 90 near Albert Lea led to the closure of the freeway for a brief time. Freeborn County announced a state of emergency due to power lines.

The Steele-Waseca release indicates the cooperative is experiencing service territory outages at 1,600-meter locations. Those are mainly between Owatonna and Ellendale but also extend through Waseca, Steele and Dodge Counties. The heavy, wet snow and winds gusting over 50-miles-per-hour is responsible and the wind is "the biggest factor hampering restoration efforts."

Briggs reminds people to stay away from downed lines.

The Owatonna Fire Department encourages people to be careful as they deal with the lack of power. On their Facebook page, they say to use flashlights and flameless candles. And do not use generators indoors.

The initial hours of the storm led to many crashes on Wednesday and to the closing of Interstate 35 between Faribault and Medford for much of the afternoon.


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