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Gov. Walz Inspects Storm Damage in Austin

April 13, 2019 06:53 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- On Saturday, Governor Tim Walz got a first-hand look at the damage caused by Thursday's Spring storm.  This weekend hundreds of residents are still without power.

Early Saturday morning, Walz visited Austin, flying over areas with the most damage and getting an idea of how bad the situation is.

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Walz later met with members of the Minnesota National Guard, local law enforcement, and elected officials at the Austin Armory. 

About 500 power poles were downed in the storm and Walz said one power pole could cost about $10,000, "I think people look at this and it didn't seem - we don't have the buildings blowing down, we didn't have the massive flooding, but this is a very expensive proposition to build these back up."

There are also mounting overtime pay for emergency crews and 150 linesmen working to get power back on the grid. Walz and utility company officials said, crossing over the Iowa State Line has been the biggest challenge so far, "Lyle is served with its source of electricity out of Iowa. So, the issue we are having right now is getting power to the substation that gets power to Lyle" said Jim Krueger, president and CEO of Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services.

Walz added officials have had to work with laws regarding commercial drivers' licenses to move workers and equipment, "There's some requirements that required moving some of the laws around commercial driver's licenses to get some of our people up to Iowa. All of those things happened."

The governor said it could take several weeks before everything is completely back to normal. Walz plans to speak to President Donald Trump about this situation in person during the president's visit to Minnesota next week.

Utility companies are telling customers that temporary power could be restored early next week. 

KAAL-TV

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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