UPDATE: Wind causes power outages in Wichita area

By: KAKE News - Email
By: KAKE News - Email
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WICHITA, Kan. — Windy weather caused problems with power this morning, leaving many low-income families in the dark.

"I woke up and woosh! No heat. No anything," said Karen Bradford of Wichita.

Bradford lives near downtown Wichita. She was among the 7,000 Westar Energy customers who did not have any power early Thursday morning.

"I've been really really cold, but I have compromised circulation. So, I'm looking forward to getting under the comforter," she said. "And we have dogs. That's all the heat we need."

Yet, Bradford faced another setback in the morning.

She was scheduled for an appointment at Episcopal Social Services, where she was expecting to get a benefits check from the Social Security Administration. Even after the power restored, the program still had computer problems.

"Everything's been down, pretty much," said Beth Raines, a payee program supervisor at ESS. "It's really heartbreaking because there's not a lot of places that they can go for free lunches here in town and so they depend on us to get that lunch."

In addition to getting people's checks, the program helps feed anywhere from 150 to 200 people with a hot lunch during the week. Instead, Raines said they would send people home with canned goods and asked clients to return Friday, which is when she expects the server will be restored.

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Wind is the likely cause of multiple power outages Thursday in Wichita and Sedgwick County.

At 12:30 p.m., Westar Energy reported about 300 customers in Sedgwick County were without power. That was down from approximately 7,300 around 8 a.m.

During the morning hours, the outages did include some Wichita schools. Horace Mann, Park. Anderson, Greiffenstein and Gateway schools were without power, but classes were being held as scheduled.

Via Christi Hospital St. Francis was also without main power Thursday morning, but functioned on internal emergency backup power. External power was restored early in the afternoon.

To view outages on Westar's website, click here.

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