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Winds cause power outages in Omaha-metro, fires in neighboring counties

The high winds are expected to continue throughout Tuesday.
The high winds are expected to continue throughout Tuesday.(Gray tv)
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 2:04 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2021 at 5:27 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Thousands of Omaha Public Power District customers struggled with power outages Wednesday afternoon as wind gusts ripped through the area, sparking wildfires across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.

5:30 P.M. -- Smoke plumes have greatly settled down on radar, so the fires should be getting somewhat under control this evening. Cooler air will continue to filter in behind the front, with winds gradually backing off overnight.

Earlier this afternoon, several departments reported to the the large brush fire in Fort Calhoun.

4 P.M. -- OPPD reported crews had restored power to all but 1,176 customers, including some major outages reported earlier Wednesday caused by broken crossbars, downed tree limbs, and a twisted cross arm, according to the utility’s website.

3:30 P.M. -- Per satellite and radar, the Saunders and Kennard fires look to be mostly under control. However, additional fires have sparked near Fort Calhoun, Treynor and Essex. These are visible as hot spots on satellite and smoke plumes on radar.

Smoke plumes caught on radar Wednesday afternoon
Smoke plumes caught on radar Wednesday afternoon(WOWT)

Red Flag Warnings remain in effect through 6 PM Wednesday due to high fire danger. Even counties not included in the warning should avoid open burning today, as gusts climb as high as 60 mph!

High fire danger through Wednesday evening
High fire danger through Wednesday evening(WOWT)

2:30 P.M. -- Wind gusts of 60mph were reported at Eppley Airfield as the OPPD site reported additional outages affecting more than 5,000 customers: 4,459 were without power in Douglas County; 643 in Cass County.

According to the OPPD website, an outage reported about 30 minutes prior was impacting north Omaha customers from Ninth to 30th streets between Camden Avenue and King Street.

Meanwhile, another fire was reported northwest of Omaha, near Kennard.

1:54 P.M. -- Outside the Omaha-metro, multiple fire departments were battling a brush fire near Prague.

1:30 P.M. -- With wind gusts reaching up to 48mph in the area, OPPD’s outage map was showing 7,800 without power. That number was down to 3,730 at about 1:45 p.m.

OPPD said crews had restored power to nearly 3,000 customers in Blair just before 1 p.m. citing a large tree limb that had fallen into a three-phase power line. A few minutes later, another outage was impacting an additional 2,311 Omaha customers between Military and West Maple roads, from 78th and 96th streets, according to the update on the OPPD website said.

“We have troubleshooters on the way to find the cause,” the statement said.

Other outage areas OPPD said crews are working on include 84th and Q streets, impacting 175 customers; 96th and Grover streets, impacting 130 customers; and 48th and Drexel streets, impacting 65 customers.

12:50 p.m. -- OPPD’s website reports 3,540 customers without power.

12:25 p.m -- An outage is impacting nearly 3,000 OPPD customers in Washington County, according to the OPPD update showing nearly 5,000 customers without power.

11:27 a.m -- OPPD said in an update on its website that 561 of the 800 customers without power were in an area in Saunders County, west of Plattsmouth.

11 a.m -- OPPD reported “scattered outages” on its website.

This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for updates.

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