Storm Line Through Kansas Takes Out Power in Topeka

July 08, 2016

By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer

It's that time of year again, the time of year when humidity builds up and thunderstorms inevitably follow. Sure, we all need the rain, but if we could get it without the thunder, lightning, hail, and straight-line derecho winds we'd all prefer it. Recently, Topeka, Kansas took some of these storms directly to the power grid, and lost power in large portions of Shawnee County as a result.

The storms brought the customary high winds and rain, and this is commonly regarded as a recipe for power outages. Several areas of tree damage, and subsequent power line damage, followed, and left just over 2,000 people without power at 9:20 a.m. yesterday. Another 285 outages were found in Jefferson County as well.

Not only is it thunderstorm season for the Midwest, but it's also the heart of the Atlantic hurricane season. That means that damaging storms can take place over a large swath of the United States at virtually any given time, and that underscores the need to have some kind of power protection system in place. Even something as simple as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can provide that last extra bit of power to save work and shut down a system instead of just losing whatever was being worked on at the time. That can save quite a bit of lost work, though it only just saves work.

There are even better plans to put in place; being prepared to offer remote work options can allow employees to proceed to locations which have power, and work from those locations accordingly. Having backup generator systems can allow work to continue on unaffected by power loss. Even something as simple as a large battery or just switching to laptops or mobile devices can provide a little extra juice to carry on a work day if the outage hits in the middle of the day. If the competition makes these plans and you don't, then you've lost work—and potentially customers—to competitors. If the situation is reversed, then the benefits become obvious. We all know from experience how fragile the power grid is; being prepared to work without it should be a line item on every company's to-do list.

Regardless of what form the plans take, or regardless of whether it’s straight-line derecho winds or an Atlantic hurricane that take out the power, being prepared for a power outage is just smart business. Be ready for that loss with the right backup systems, tested regularly, and be ready to laugh in the face of a storm.

Edited by Alicia Young

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