MISSOURI (KFVS) - Officials with the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives say they are having trouble restoring power to a lot of customers in Missouri due to rising flood waters.
The restoration effort is being hampered by road closings. In many rural areas, bridges have been destroyed, leaving few options to reach damaged power lines.
As of Wednesday, May 3, approximately 2,500 members are without power, down from a high of more than 7,000 over the weekend.
The hardest hit area at this point is Ozark Border Electric Cooperative based in Poplar Bluff, with 1,200 members without power. Most of those are in Ripley County, where the Current River reached historic high levels.
At one point, Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative, West Plains, had 2,600 members without power. That number was down to 600 by 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 2.
"We are still battling accessibility issues all over our service area," the cooperative reported on its Facebook page. "Several bridges have been completely washed away, while other bridges and roads are still covered with water. Crews are still working hard to restore power....As expected, progress has been steady but slow in the conditions we are working in."
While flooding has been the worst part for electric crews, strong winds and lightning were also causes for some of the outages across the state. At Pemiscot-Dunklin Electric Cooperative, Hayti, 80 poles were broken due to the storms.
Helicopters and a boat from the MSHP assisted some of the electric cooperatives in assessing the extent of the damage and planning routes to reach the affected areas.
Crews are continuing to work on the outage until all customers have power restored. Officials say that in some cases it will be necessary to wait for the flood water to recede and roads repaired before work can take place.