Hit-and-run knocks out power

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The Emmet County Sheriff's Office said an accident shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday morning knocked out power to a portion of south Estherville. The accident happened at the intersection of South 13th Street and Third Avenue South. According to deputies, a 2007 Chevrolet Sebring was southbound on South 13th Street. when it crossed the intersection with Third Avenue South, hit a curb and ended up in the yard at 1300 Third Ave. S. The vehicle struck an electrical pole, breaking it in half. The force of the impact caused the vehicle to swing clockwise, damaging an electrical box. The driver reportedly fled the scene.

The consequence: a portion of Estherville's south side power was knocked out. Authorities say the car was totaled.

The city is preparing a damage estimate for the power pole and electrical box.

Toni Hazen, owner of Meadow Secrets Greenhouse, said, "Three of my banana trees in my greenhouse are now dead. The rest of the plants will pull through, thankfully." Hazen said she's working on a back up plan for if something like this happens again.

Jessica Rae Rieffer said, "We were without power for about two hours with no heat. It was a little scary and we had nothing for emergencies like that. It made us realize we needed to be a little more prepared!"

Bobbie Richard agreed, stating, "Power [was] off at our house. Furnace quit and it got down to 49 degrees. Brrr!"

Peggy Manwarren said she, husband Bob and the six grandchildren they are raising had no power and it was a bit chilly, but they stayed warm under the blankets through the morning.

Linda Brown said her husband was without his oxygen for two hours.

Winter power outages happen. Emmet County Emergency coordinator Travis Sheridan cited the Iowa website BeReady.Iowa.gov for ways to be prepared.

Some of these tips: check flashlights and battery-powered portable radios to ensure that they are working and you have extra batteries. Keeping phones charged and extra battery storage for devices is a good idea, too, but in case of a storm, wireless service may not be available.

Emergency heating sources such as a gas fireplace, woodburning stove, or if your home has a fireplace is good to have so you can keep one room liveable. Stock up on firewood to last a couple of days.

Homes that are insulated and weather-stripped around the doors keep heat in more efficiently.

While it's cold inside, mittens are better than gloves, wearing a hat will help retain body heat, cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

Sheridan said Iowa Emergency Management Association (IEMA) is trying to push the legislature in passing a bill to give tax cuts on home generators.

"This is still the best option when dealing with extreme cold and power outages. It keeps people and property safe during these kinds of events," Sheridan said.

BeReady also advises making a disaster plan with your household to prepare for all kinds of disasters.

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