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Ice storm melts away, didn’t cause expected damage

By Nancy McGill
Hebron Journal-Register

Thayer County officials and Norris Public Power were feeling pretty lucky Monday and Tuesday because the expected massive outages from the ice storm didn’t come to fruition.  
“We were pretty lucky compared to other places,” Sheriff David Lee said. “The roads were as bad as they said, but people didn’t get out and if they did, they were cautious.”
Tree branches were down in the Carleton area, but Emergency Manager Bill McPherson said they were easily removed from the roads.
“It’s the same situation in Bruning with four to five-inch branches,” McPherson said.
Approximately 65 people were without power Tuesday morning. The online Norris Public Power outage map showed several zip codes, south of Hebron, between Gilead and Hubbell and north near Bruning.
“We’ve been having a few outages. Nothing that terrible yet,” Norris Manager of Operations Trevor Wehrer said Monday morning. He said the melting was causing power to flicker off and on in some areas.  
A transmission line at the Carleton substation with a scorched wire caused a few outages, Wehrer said.
“We’re feeling pretty lucky right now,” Wehrer said Monday morning.
Lee said wind would have made the situation worse than the 12 calls for electrical service reported to his deputy.
The sheriff’s department accident count was low as well, with a few vehicles sliding into ditches. One accident involved two semi tractor trailers on Highway 81 near the scales.
The semis were in the southbound lanes and jackknifed.
Schools and several businesses shut down Monday. Thayer Central students were back in school Tuesday with a 10 a.m. late start.
McPherson said ice accumulation was estimated at .35 in Carleton, but slightly more for Hebron.
He had advised people to avoid travel Monday morning.
He said the ice was hazardous because it had a thin layer of water on top, causing more slippage than if it was frozen.  
McPherson added he submitted a status report to Nebraska Emergency Management Agency in case they needed to prepare for incidents caused by the ice storm.

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