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Mother Nature turns out the lights

Many Bureau County residents were left still shivering in the cold following the winter storm that pushed through the area Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning.

Thursday's storm may have brought only 2 to 4 inches of snow around the county, but it was the strong winds that left their impact with widespread power outages.

On Friday, Ameren Illinois spokesperson Leigh Morris said nearly 2,400 customers in Bureau County still remained without electricity on Friday morning, but hopefully all the power would be restored to customers by Friday evening. The winds caused a lot of broken poles and downed lines throughout the state, Morris said.

The breakdown for local Ameren customers without electricity as of Friday morning were 343 in Buda, 220 in Manlius, 160 in Mineral, 356 in Neponset, 61 in New Bedford, 30 in Princeton, 4 in Tiskilwa, 34 in Walnut, 547 in Wyanet, and 615 in Sheffield.

Cornbelt Energy crews were also at work Friday restoring power to their customers in central Illinois. According to Cornbelt's webpage, the company had 106 customers without electricity as of Friday, with two of those customers living in Bureau County.

In addition to the power outages, area law enforcement agencies reported numerous vehicle accidents from Thursday afternoon into Friday morning.

According to Illinois State Trooper Craig Graham, District 17 troopers responded to
numerous vehicles in ditches, with near white-out conditions in Bureau County. The ISP received about two dozens motorist-assist calls and responded to four crashes. The ISP issued a statement that travel was not recommended during the storm.

On Friday, Bureau County Sheriff John Thompson said his deputies were extremely busy Thursday and into Friday with lots of cars and trucks winding up in ditches. He did not know of any serious injuries in any of the accidents, Thompson said.

County roads are now open and passable, but people need to drive slowly, the sheriff said.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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