Worthington residents buried under inches of ice

6:02 PM, Apr 10, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Southern Minn. Ice Storm

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.

It forced the city's mayor to declare a state of emergency.

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.

Up and down every street in Worthington, it looks exactly same -- piles of branches pushed to the sides of the street, some still on cars and houses, all laden with ice.

"What's hitting the trees is icing," said Paul Langseth, a tree service owner. "It's icing on the trucks. It's icing on the cars."

The fear is that once it gets colder and snow starts to fall on top of the ice that things will get even worse.

It's already bad for city services. Power lines have become so encased in ice that they have been breaking under the strain. In some cases entire rows of power poles have been snapped, making it look like a tornado went through.

The general manager of Worthington utilities said they were completely cut off from the outside world.

"We had industry idle production for the day," said Scott Hain, Worthington Utilities general manager. "We've actually been running rolling blackouts for the day, to the point where we can keep the sanitary lift stations running, keep the sewage from backing up, keep sump pumps running and keep everybody relatively warm."

Worthington ordered it's manufacturers to shut down for the day as it rations power from its back up diesel generators through a series of rolling blackouts. Just enough for people to warm their houses up, then the power goes off again.

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