If you live in the Midwest and had never heard of knew what a “derecho” was, Aug. 10 changed that. That was the morning a powerful wind event, described as the equivalent of an inland hurricane, struck much of the Great Plains, including the OPPD service territory.
It caused extensive tree damage throughout OPPD’s service territory and knocked out power to 57,000 customers. In terms of numbers, it was the seventh largest outage event on record for OPPD.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the strong storm system – known as a derecho – developed around Tekamah and Fremont and quickly intensified. The system’s strength pushed out a huge wind gust to the south and east, which is what struck the Omaha area.
The infographic shown below reveals more about the storm system known as a derecho.
There were reports of some gusts in the area exceeding 70 mph. As the system pushed across Iowa, winds reached 114 mph and left millions without power and millions of acres of destroyed crops.
By the time the derecho ended, devastation was left in its wake across the upper Midwest, including Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois.
Back in eastern Nebraska, OPPD Forestry crews worked alongside troubleshooters and repair crews. Within 24 hours, power was restored to 88% of customers. The last leg of repairs was of the more tedious variety, with many individual repairs needed to bring the remaining customers back online.
Vice President of Energy Delivery Troy Via credited accelerated tree trimming efforts over the past couple of years for preventing much worse damage to power lines and a greater number of power outages.
OPPD received mutual aid to get the work done. Help came from public power companies like Lincoln Electric System, Cuming Power, and Loup Power and contractors including LE Myers and Watts. Customers were fully restored by Wednesday night.