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Lincoln County, Mo. - The severe weather that rolled through Lincoln County on the evening of Dec. 10 left thousands without power for several hours.

It wasn’t the only havoc the storms wreaked that night.

Residents found issues getting help with emergencies, for the weather knocked out the emergency communications system for a short period. Lincoln County Communications found trouble reaching first responders due to the storm, and Acting Director James Roberts blamed a power surge as the cause.

“Immediately from the power surge (of the generators), we knew the system was down,” he said. “We’re more than certain it was a lightning strike, but it’s not confirmed at this time.”

Roberts continued to say the phone system was restored in short order by Century Link.

“We immediately made phone calls to our vendors,” he said. “They had a great response time, and everything was back up pretty quickly.”

Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Adam Stanek said the 911 system was down for about a half-hour, though it might have seemed longer. He said a contingency plan was in place, and was utilized.

“We have several redundancies in place,” Stanek said. “In this case, any calls (during that time period) were rerouted to Warren County while we were getting the system fixed.

“After about 15 to 20 minutes, we were able to get back online.”

LCEMA kept a close watch of the storm system as it came close to Lincoln County, and alerted the community.

“We were tracking that system really closely, working with our partners at the (National Weather Service),” Stanek said. “We sent alerts when the first warnings came out, and sounded the storm alarms in each town.”

Though the region sat in the dark for much of the evening into the early morning hours of Dec. 11, Stanek said no significant damage nor injuries were reported.

“We didn’t get any direct reports to our office,” he said. “Of course, we had limbs down, but no reports of residential damage. Also we got no reports of injuries or severe damage to property.”

Roberts said the continued collaboration between his office and LCEMA was a major factor in the quick restoration of the 911 system during the storm. 

“With Adam in the same building, we have great communication,” he said. “I’m fortunate we share the same hallway, so we can communicate face-to-face and get the information out quickly.”