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Blizzard Recovery Proceeds in Nebraska

FEMA liaison deployed to state

WASHINGTON October 29, 1997 -- Conditions continue to improve in Nebraska following last weekend's blizzard. Response efforts at local and State levels are focussed on health and safety issues, primarily the restoration of electricity throughout affected areas.

State emergency management officials estimated yesterday morning that approximately 60,000 people were without electrical power. A spokesman from the Lincoln Electric System (LES) updated the number of customers out of service at 20,000 later in the day. LES officials are hoping to have full power restored by this coming Sunday, Nov. 2.

Local telephone service in Lincoln is also experiencing problems, with an estimated 3,300 customers out of service yesterday. Repair crews are discovering more problems as they answer service calls.

The state's major roads and highways are open. Major streets in most municipalities are open, with residential areas in the Lincoln/Omaha area opening slowly because of downed trees.

Tree trimming crews from the City of Lincoln and LES are trying to clear paths through downed trees for electrical crews to reach out-of-service areas and to make way for traffic. Debris removal is a critical issue because 30,000 people come into downtown Lincoln to work and 80,000 football fans are expected this Saturday for a University of Nebraska football game.

The American Red Cross reports it had three shelters open in southeast Nebraska housing 254 people last night.

FEMA Region VII's office in Kansas City, Missouri, sent a state liaison officer to the Nebraska Emergency Operations Center today to help monitor the situation. State and local damage assessments will commence as soon as conditions allow.

Updated: October 29, 1997