WORTHINGTON, Minn. - Emergency officials say 100 percent of homes in the city of Worthington are without electricity after a winter storm left parts of southern Minnesota coated in ice, causing the city's mayor to declare a state of emergency.
KARE 11's Boyd Huppert, en route to Worthington, says a heavy mist in the air is combining with freezing temperatures to leave a thick coating of ice on power lines and trees.
Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark says emergency generators are providing some electricity for residents. The city has enacted what they call a "rolling blackout", meaning that neighborhoods get emergency power for 45 minutes at a time.
Officials believe they have traced the problem to a major feeder line that supplies electricity to the entire community.
The ice coating Worthington is causing other problems as well. Trees and branches have snapped due to the weight of the ice, and are laying in streets all over town. Residents and public works crews are working with chainsaws to clear the way for traffic.
Local radio stations in Slayton and Worthington say local power coops are scrambling to respond to reports of power out and lines down.
Rachel Kruger, director of emergency services for the American Red Cross of South Central Minnesota, says that the issues in Worthington are similar throughout Nobles County. Kruger says that about 90 percent of Nobles and Rock counties are without power.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says the Nobles County Government Center closed due to the power outages, while the local hospital is operating on generator power.
DPS spokesman Bruce Gordon says the National Guard armory in Luverne has opened to house 35 juveniles from a detention center that lost power.
The storm coated trees and power lines with ice. The next round of the storm is expected to dump several inches of wet snow across much of the southern half of Minnesota by Thursday.
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