Power outages part of ice storm’s aftermath

The season’s first ice storm that hit the area this week was linked to widespread power outages — including at some schools and government offices.

At one time, more than 15,000 Duke Energy customers in Butler County and more than 29,000 in Hamilton County were reportedly without power Thursday. In Hamilton, crews worked to clear downed tree limbs before being able to restore power to thousands of residents.

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With the ice helping to snap utility lines and trees, tens of thousands of utility customers lost power Thursday, officials said, among them schools in Middletown and some government offices, including in Middletown and the Butler County Government Services Center.

Middletown City Schools closed after several buildings lost power Thursday.

The Middletown police station also was impacted by the power outage, said Chief Rodney Muterspaw.

He said because of the outage, no new prisoners were being booked into the jail, and police officers and detectives were on the streets directing traffic at intersections where the power was out.

“This shows how dependent we are on computers,” Muterspaw said while sitting in the dark police lobby.

Power was restored to the building by late Thursday morning.

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Freezing rain isn’t expected to be in the forecast through the weekend, according to StormCenter 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs.

Temperatures should range from 29 to 43 degrees with a chance of a passing flurry today, she said. Saturday and Sunday are expected to be mostly dry.

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