Omaha Public Radio News
8:53 am
Sat June 28, 2008

OPPD projects Saturday for all power restoration

Omaha, NE – OPPD says more than 8,000 customers remain without power following Friday's severe thunderstorm. It could be next Saturday before power is restored to all customers. In a news release on the company's web site, OPPD says there are 425 personnel in the field working to restore power.

The Salvation Army is opening its 2424 Pratt Street location as a place of respite for volunteers and residents affected by the storm. Also, the Salvation Army of Omaha is sending a unit to Woodcliff to assist with efforts there. Divisional Director of Development Joanne Bemis says the Omaha chapter will be working with Salvation Army officials from Fremont to help Woodcliff residents.

The storm that moved through the Omaha metro area Friday packed winds in excess of 100 miles per hour, hail, and very heavy rain. No major injuries are reported in Omaha. Two people were killed in Council Bluffs when a tree crushed the car they were riding in during the storm. During a news conference Saturday morning at Omaha's Memorial Park, Mayor Mike Fahey expressed condolences for the Council Bluffs victims.

OPPD CEO Gary Gates says Friday's storm was one of the worst in the company's history.

Omaha Public Works Director Bob Stubbe says the majority of the city's major streets have been cleared of debris. Stubbe says one of the city's sewer facilities was damaged, and it'll take months to repair. Downed tree limbs can be disposed of at 11th and Locust and at the old Millard Lumber site.

Interim Omaha Police Chief Eric Buske says there are still signals out throughout the city. Those intersections should be treated as four-way stops. Interim Fire Chief Mike McDonnell says they received 280 calls following the storm.

The Salvation Army and American Red Cross are providing food and water for residents who are still without power. The Red Cross has shelters open in Ralston and Fremont.

Douglas County Emergency Management Agency Director Paul Johnson says the storm affected all of the county and left some hospitals running on emergency power.

Click on the link above to hear Saturday's news conference.