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A look at Benkelman’s tornado damage

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - On May 26, there were severe weather alerts issued in North Platte and surrounding cities. There were reports of tornadoes touching down in neighboring counties. A tornado, in Dundy County near Benkelman, knocked down twenty-three transmission poles and thirteen distribution poles.

“Damage from the transmission poles mainly affected our delivery from sub-station to sub-station,” said Colyn Suda Southwest Public Power District General Manager. “Our transmission lines receive energy from substation to substation within our territory. From there, we have distribution lines that put it out to the customers.”

The damages to the transmission and distribution poles cause people west of Highway 61 to lose their power.

“I have never seen something like this in my thirty-seven years of working. We have had a lot of tornado damage but it has been real spotty. This is probably as bad as I have seen it,” said Crew Chief from the Benkelman office Hugh Anderson. “We got out here we saw poles lying in the highway.”

The crews worked for roughly five hours to restore power.

“We had to do some switching around, but we had the customers back on around 7 am,” said Anderson.

The linemen work tirelessly to assure that power effectively flows to peoples’ homes. When disasters strike, crews leave their families to help others.

“We are always ready. In this part of the county, it is going to happen sooner or later and we are ready for it,” said Anderson. “I have missed birthdays and holidays being on outages.”

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