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Crews bring power back online in area

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BLOOMINGTON - Several school districts and thousands of people remained without power until Monday morning after overnight outages caused by unusual winter thunderstorms Sunday night.

About 14,600 homes and businesses lost power in a pair of outages. About 3,000 of those didn't have power until between 7 and 8 a.m. Monday, power company officials said.

The outages closed Olympia schools, among others.

About 11,100 AmerenIP customers lost power Sunday night. About 1,483 of those people didn't have power until Monday morning.

Olympia's grade school in Minier was affected by the outage, and school district officials closed the grade, middle and high schools. The middle and high schools in Stanford didn't lose power.

Ameren spokesman Leigh Morris said a downed wire cut off power to about 5,800 customers in Hopedale, Armington and Morton about 5 p.m., but Morton had power again within 90 minutes. The remaining 1,483 people affected, in addition to some Corn Belt Energy Corp. customers, didn't have power until 7 a.m., he said.

A second outage, likely caused by lightning striking a line, affected about 5,300 customers in Lexington, Gridley, Ellsworth, Chenoa, Colfax, Towanda and Cooksville starting about 7:35 p.m., Morris said. All of those customers had power by 11:10 p.m., he said.

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Morris said he wasn't aware of an unusual number of complaints because of Sunday's outage, despite the timing with the televised broadcast of the Super Bowl.

"People called and told us the power was out, and they knew that we were striving to get the power back on as quickly as possible," Morris said.

Corn Belt Energy Corp. spokesman Dave Hawkinson said about 3,500 of his company's customers lost power in outages that coincided with those from Ameren. He said that, in both cases, Corn Belt's substations lost transmission of electricity from Ameren.

About 2,000 Corn Belt customers lost power until 11:30 p.m. in Saybrook, Holder, Lexington and Cooksville, Hawkinson said. About 1,500 customers lost power until 7:45 a.m. Monday in Hopedale, Armington and Minier, he said.

Hawkinson said his company dealt with some other minor problems, such as power lines "galloping" from ice accumulation and wind.

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