Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Some sweating power failure

Heat hits those without AC, water

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        RICHWOOD — Michelle Isaacs sat in her Lassing Way home Tuesday afternoon, waiting for the electricity to be restored so she and her family could return to a normal life with lights, water and air conditioning.

        Ms. Isaacs was among more than 2,800 Northern Kentucky customers of Cinergy still without power two days after a series of thunderstorms with high winds moved through the area Sundayafternoon and evening.

        And what a day to be without cooling — the temperatures in the Tristate pushed above 90 for only the second time this year. The last day over 90 degrees was June 19.

        And even though National Weather Service figures say that this year is much cooler overall than the brutal summer of 1999, in which 17 days in July were above 90 degrees, people all over the region Tuesday struggled to keep cool.

        A cold front was expected to bring some relief today.

        Cinergy spokesman Dave Woodburn said the utility expected to have everyone back on line by the end of the day Tuesday.

        He said Cinergy was concentrating the bulk of its work crews in Northern Kentucky to complete the restoration of power Tuesday to areas still without electricity, including Walton, Verona, Florence and Richwood in Boone County.

        A total of about 70,000 Cinergy customers were deprived of electricity for various amounts of time beginning Sunday afternoon, but all storm-related power outages in Ohio were restored by Mondaynight.

        Ms. Isaacs said the electricity went out at her home about 1 p.m. Sunday. “We lost all the food in the refrigerator and freezer,” she said. “I had just purchased a lot of meat and other items on sale — and had to throw it all away. The ice in the ice maker melted, and water ran all over our hardwood floors.”

        The Isaacs' house and others in the subdivision don't have public water and rely on water pumped from a cistern. So without the electric pump, they had no water.

        “We spent Monday at a hotel,” she said. “Fortunately, our homeowners' insurance is paying for everything related to the power outage.”

        The Kenton County Cooperative Extension Service issued an advisory Tuesday to help people deal with food safety resulting from loss of electric power.

        The advisory said a full freezer generally will stay at freezing temperatures for about two days, and a half-full freezer for about a day.

        If the freezer is not full, stack packages to form an “igloo” to protect each other.

        Refrigerated items should be safe as long as power is not off for more that four hours.

        Discard any perishable foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, leftovers, etc.) that have been above 40 degrees for two hours or more.

        For more information, contact your local county extension office. In Kenton County, 356-3155, in Campbell County 572-2600, and in Boone County 586-6101.


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