IOWA DERECHO 2020

2,000 Marion customers temporarily lose power after tree falls on line

Mediacom: Internet service for 9,000 in C.R. coming 'over the next week'

Linemen Reid DeSotel of Cedar Rapids (left) and Todd Nyland of Manchester work Aug. 17 to connect lines to a crossarm on
Linemen Reid DeSotel of Cedar Rapids (left) and Todd Nyland of Manchester work Aug. 17 to connect lines to a crossarm on Winslow Road in Marion. More than 2,000 Marion customers lost electrical power Wednesday when a tree fell on a power line; almost all of them regained power in less than an hour. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Only 56 households in Linn County on Wednesday were without power as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, 16 days after a derecho tore through Eastern Iowa.

No other utilities have outages in the county.

But 2,316 Marion customers lost power later Wednesday after a tree fell on a power line in Marion, but almost all of them had regained power in less than an hour.

The outages continue as Cedar Rapids experiences 90-plus degree heat for much of the week. Highs on Wednesday and Thursday are expected to reach 95, with a heat index of 100, according to the National Weather Service.

While power is restored to about 99.9 percent of the county, internet providers are still making repairs for many customers in the Cedar Rapids area.

Mediacom spokeswoman Phyllis Peters said the company needs to repair fewer than 20 nodes — “key pickup and drop-off places” in the network — with more than 300 working as usual.

Peters said about 9,000 customers in Cedar Rapids remain without service, plus 700 in Marion, 140 in Hiawatha and 30 in Newhall.

Peters expects Marion and Hiawatha customers to regain internet “throughout the week.”

While some customers in Cedar Rapids are to regain service Wednesday and Thursday, most are expected to come back online “over the next week.”

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A few “isolated outages” in Toddville, Fairfax, Palo and Swisher should be resolved in the next one to two days, Peters said.

About 30 customers in Newhall are waiting for a “heavily damaged,” 9-mile fiber-optic line that will take “the next few weeks” to rebuild.

ImOn had restored service to slightly more than 76 percent of its cable and internet customers as of 2 p.m. Wednesday.

“It’s moving slower now because we are working in areas with more damage,” ImOn spokeswoman Lisa Rhatigan said Tuesday. “The last part of this will probably take a little longer than the first part of it.”

Crews from central Iowa have come to help Mediacom finish restoring service. Peters said tree debris has made it harder for the crews to see some damaged lines, though.

Splash pads, cooling station

• The Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department has opened splash pads at Twin Pines; 3500 42nd St. NE; Hayes Park, 1924 D St. SW; and Hidder Park, 1248 10th St. SE.

• The cooling station at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, at 370 First Ave. NE, will be open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily for the rest of the week. The location also doubles as a no-cost cellphone charging and Wi-Fi station.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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