Fast-moving storm knocks out power in Gary, Hammond and Merrillville
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent August 4, 2012 6:10PM
Updated: September 6, 2012 6:37AM
More than 50,000 customers were without power during the height of a fast-moving storm that made its way through the area beginning just before 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Northern Indiana Public Service Co. reported 53,861 customers without service at about 6 p.m. First reports of outages started to come in around 4:24 p.m. The largest number of the customers impacted by the storm were in Gary, Hammond and Merrillville.
“Right now we’ve got our crews out assessing the situation,” said Eddie Melton, manager of communications and community relations for NIPSCO. Melton said restoration times are not yet available but will be posted on the website’s Outage Center as soon as information is known.
“I definitely want to encourage customers to check the mobile site for updates, stay away from any downed power lines if they see them and call in immediately for their safety,” Melton said.
According to the National Weather Service Chicago office in Barrington, Ill., wind speeds of 70 miles per hour were reported in Griffith, 59 mph in Valparaiso and 61 mph in Gary as the front made its way through the region. Rainfall totals were not yet available.
The severe weather threat has diminished, but a lingering threat remains throughout the evening, according to the office’s website.
At the Lake County Fair, midway rides were shut down and visitors were encouraged to wait out the storm inside the buildings on the fairgrounds, said Kate Keller, the fair’s office manager.
“We had no problems,” Keller said. Rides were up and running shortly after 5:30 p.m.
“We did have to cancel the all-breed classic horse show for the evening,” she said. The arena became too muddy to continue the show so the classes that did not compete will be rescheduled.