REMEMBER WHEN: Ozarks remembers historic ice storm in 2007

Published: Jan. 13, 2020 at 5:18 PM CST
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We expect to recover from this weekend's nasty weather much faster than we did from an historic storm. If you were around 13-years-ago this week, you know what we're talking about.

It was one of the worst ice storms to hit southwest Missouri in decades.

Transformers began blowing as ice accumulated and power was lost to tens of thousands.

"It was, uh, quite a hectic time around here if you can imagine," said Larry Woods, Director of the Springfield/Greene County Office of Emergency Management

But it was hard to imagine just how much ice would pile up.

"We had an understanding that there was something going to happen," said Woods. "We didn't know maybe initially to the degree, uh, that it ultimately turned out."

"We were prepared in 2007," said Joel Alexander, Media and Energy Services Manager for City Utilities. "You just didn't know what was gonna hit you until it got here, and unfortunately, that's the way with most storms."

Up to two inches of ice fell during the ice storm, bringing down branches and power lines and causing so much damage to power poles that 330 of them had to be replaced.

"About three quarters of the system was down because of the ice storm," said Alexander.

That meant more than 75,000 City Utilities customers were in the dark. Some for several weeks.

Part of the problem that added to outages?

"Leading into 2007, there had been a little bit of a lapse on tree trimming due to budgetary constraints," said Alexander. "Since 2007, we've definitely come up that more aggressively."

A high-impact storm across the region, it helped shape how future storms are handled.

"It really rewrote our entire operations plan," said Woods. "And really really enhanced it and made it much better."

"Technology, social media, working with the media, working with the weather service," added Alexander. "We have good systems in place to try to be prepared as we possibly can."

Of the $107 million in damage to public infrastructure across the state caused by that ice storm, $40 million occurred in Greene County alone.

And Greene County residents filed more than $41 million in claims for damages to their homes and cars.