With temperatures set to rise, frustrations mount for those without power as KCP&L predicts outages will persist through Wednesday

A downed tree in Overland Park. Reader submitted photo.
A downed tree in Overland Park. Reader submitted photo.

Outages persist for thousands of northeast Johnson County residents more than 48 hours after a fierce storm wreaked havoc on the electrical grid late Saturday night, causing concern about the health of vulnerable area residents with temperatures expected to spike back up into the mid-90s today after a relatively cool Monday.

The neighborhoods east of I-35 inside the I-435 loop have the highest concentrations of remaining outages in the metro area, with more than 3,300 customers still powerless as of 7 a.m. By contrast, west of I-35, just 500 customers still have no power.

KCP&L had more than 1,300 workers in the field Monday trying to get severe damage to poles and power lines fixed and power reconnected. But the utility acknowledged as the day drew to a close that some people will likely be without power for another full day. “Crews will continue to work overnight and having the majority of our customers restored tomorrow,” read a post on KCP&L’s Facebook page. “However, we also expect to have the final customers in areas with the most severe damage (i.e., several broken poles, large trees, downed lines) restored on Wednesday.”

A third full day without power caused concern for several area agencies, particularly given the potentially dangerous high temperatures predicted for Tuesday. What’s more, the National Weather Service in Kansas City says there’s a risk for severe storms with high winds to hit the northern part of the metro area (Johnson County is not in the threat area) on Wednesday, which could compound the pressure on KCP&L crews.

Roeland Park police are asking anyone who may be concerned about the health of a resident without air conditioning to call their non-emergency number at 913-782-0720 to request a welfare check. Johnson County libraries remain open as cooling centers, though the Shawnee branch is closed for unexpected maintenance on the air conditioner.

The outages Monday threw a wrench into summer social service programs in the area. Power went out at seven of the schools in the Shawnee Mission district, including Comanche Elementary at 8200 Grant in Overland Park, which offers free meals to kids aged 1 through 18 through its Summer Lunch Bunch program. With no power in the kitchen to prepare meals, district food services staff scrambled to put a plan in place that provided bagged lunches for the kids.

“[We] provided a place outside in the shade for those students to have a chance to eat,” Interim Superintendent Kenny Southwick said Monday.

Meanwhile, residents and public works crews continued the long slog of pick up on Monday, with branch drop off sites seeing a steady stream of homeowners ridding themselves of piles of felled limbs. You can find a list of drop off sites and curbside pick up programs for northeast Johnson County cities here.

UPDATE: Fairway opens part of pool complex building as cooling center.

Fairway city hall put out the following notice this morning:

With more than 10% of Fairway homes still without power this morning and the heat index forecast to surpass 100 degrees, the City of Fairway will open a portion of the multipurpose room at the Fairway Pool as a cooling center and electronic recharging station for affected Fairway residents.  The multipurpose room will be available from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. today and will have ice water available.  All children must be accompanied by an adult.  Regular pool admission rates will apply for those choosing to swim.

 

The debris drop off site at Mohawk Park in Mission took in tons of branches Monday.
The debris drop off site at Mohawk Park in Mission took in tons of branches Monday.