Storm

Storm Prediction Center illustration of an approaching derecho.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Mutual aid crews from at least five electric cooperatives in Kentucky are headed to sister cooperatives in Ohio after a strong cluster of thunderstorms Monday and Tuesday knocked out electric service to more than 300,000 people.

The National Weather Service confirmed a derecho hit parts of Ohio, with winds topping 70 mph.  The storms downed hundreds of power lines and flooded roads.

A severe outbreak may be classified as a derecho if it produces 58 miles per hour or greater winds along a 240-mile or longer path.  Although derechos produce damage paths similar to tornadoes, typically the damage occurs in one direction. 

Seventeen two-man crews from Kentucky are assisting with power restoration the Buckeye State.  The 34 Kentucky line technicians are from Owen Electric, Kenergy Corp, Fleming-Mason Energy, Jackson Energy and Nolin RECC.

In addition to Holmes-Wayne Electric Cooperative, where more than two-thirds of their customers lost power, the Kentucky crews are also assisting Consolidated Cooperative, The Energy Cooperative and Guernsey-Muskingum Electric Cooperative.

“The power outages are widespread in Ohio and several other states and will require many hours of restoration,” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives.  “With this same area also under an excessive heat warning, we understand the need to restore power as soon as possible.  We are praying for our sister co-ops in the region and for the safety of everyone assisting.”

By responding to natural disasters in other states, Kentucky co-op crews gain invaluable experience to ultimately help them respond to outages here at home. Coordinated by Kentucky Electric Cooperatives, mutual aid crews from Kentucky co-ops are deployed to specific sister cooperatives who have requested their help.

Other mutual aid deployments in recent years include more than 160 personnel and contractors from electric cooperatives in Kentucky assisting after Hurricane Ida in Louisiana last year, and several deployments in 2020, including 87 Kentucky co-op employees after Hurricane Sally in Alabama, 73 Kentucky co-op employees after Hurricane Delta in Louisiana, and about 50 co-op personnel assisting after Hurricane Zeta in Georgia.

Because the national network of transmission and distribution infrastructure owned by electric cooperatives is built to federal standards, line crews from any co-op in America can arrive on the scene ready to provide emergency support, secure in their knowledge of the system’s engineering.