Storm impact puts further strain on Bloomington Animal Care & Control

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — As of Wednesday evening, more than 20,000 people in Monroe County were still without power after Tuesday’s storms.

The high winds knocked over trees across the county, many bringing power lines down with them. Crews have been working around the clock to clean it up, but it could still be a while before all power is restored.

Even 24 hours later, several gas stations hadn’t reopened. A handful of streetlights were inoperable. Many trees remained right where they fell after 70-mile-per-hour winds ripped them from the ground.

“We were all here doing our normal thing and suddenly the lights went off and trees were sideways and it was dark,” Emily Herr, outreach and behavior coordinator for Bloomington Animal Care & Control, said.

The lights still hadn’t come back on at Bloomington Animal Care & Control Wednesday evening, just like thousands of homes in the area.

“We’re kind of doing the best we can working with headlamps, flashlights, just keep on moving,” Herr said.

The staff has to throw away bedding that can’t be washed, relying on donations until their laundry machines are running again while hoping it doesn’t get any hotter than it already is.

“Right now, our focus is keeping the animals safe and happy and at a temperature where they’re comfortable,” Herr added. “We’ve got lots of windows open, just doing the best we can for everyone in our care.”

With 300 animals in the building, the shelter is well over capacity and expecting an influx of animals as a result of the storm, putting further strain on resources.

“We already have a lot of animals in our care so if there are people out there who are considering adding a new family member we encourage them to come down or go to their local animal shelter and adopt,” Herr said. “There’s a national crisis in animal shelters across the country and the best way to help is to support by adoption.”

A spokesperson for Duke Energy said they’ve brought in 700 additional workers to Indiana to help out, with the goal of restoring power for most customers by Thursday night.

“The terrain is really quite rough in Monroe County specifically,” Duke Energy Senior Communications Manager Mckenzie Barbknecht said. “And that has been a challenge for our crews to navigate, but they are working just as quickly and safely as possible to ensure that all of our customers get restored just as soon as they can.”

Monroe County EMA is asking anyone who needs to report damage to call Indiana 211, as police are advising residents to stay home if they can while crews finish cleaning up.

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