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Some in Greater Cincinnati still living by candlelight days after ice storm

Posted at 1:27 AM, Nov 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-17 01:27:17-05

LAKESIDE PARK, Ky. -- "It's been kind of a nightmare."

That's how Jennifer Scheben described the 48 hours her family spent without electricity in the wake of Wednesday's overnight ice storm, which turned roads to glass, brought down tree branches weighted with ice and toppled power lines across Greater Cincinnati. 

Her neighborhood got a dose of all three. The sound of a tree falling into Scheben's roof startled her awake early Thursday morning and led her outside, where she discovered her car had been damaged, too. Inside, she and her family have been living by the light of their White Barn and Yankee candles.

"We're going to stick it out," she said. "I mean, it can't last forever."

Although more than 95 percent of the 200,000 homes initially affected by outages were back online by Friday night, Scheben's and thousands of others remained in the dark. 

Duke Energy spokeswoman Sally Thelen said Wednesday's ice storm was among the most damaging the company had dealt with in a decade. 

"I think a lot of it was vegetation," she said. "There were many trees that had leaves on them that hadn't come off yet that you had that added weight."

In situations involving widespread outages, emergency operations centers, hospitals and nursing homes become the company's top priority, she added.

Although some residential customers received text messages indicating they might not regain power until Sunday afternoon, Thelen said that's the longest possible time frame for repairs, not the expected one.

In the meantime, facilities such as the Blue Ash YMCA opened themselves to those in need of a warm place to stay and a hot shower. Program director Steve Bohne estimated about 200 people stopped in on Friday.