Crews working through weekend to restore power to thousands following severe storms

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The cleanup is underway from a storm that left thousands of people without power. As of 8 p.m. Friday, Kansas City's public officials say more than 48,000 residents are still in the dark, waiting for their electricity to come back to life. Kansas City Power and Light officials say they, along with city workers, have restored electricity to more than half of the homes that lost it.

Thousands of KCP&L customers remain in the dark, including south Kansas City resident Melva Tucker, whose home is surrounded by residents using portable generators to keep the lights on.

“We've been hanging out in the basement,” Tucker said. “It's a little cooler down there. Some of my neighbors have a generator. Maybe that's something I need to invest in.”

Tucker's family isn't alone. Numerous Kansas City neighborhoods are still dark, and littered with pieces of trees knocked down by early Friday morning's storm winds.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James told reporters the recovery effort is alive. He says the city's 311 hotline is flooded with phone calls from people in need of help, and average citizens are helping neighbors get by.

“They are taking their own power tools and going out and cutting trees up that are falling into the right of way,” Mayor James said. “They're out helping their neighbors with damage or trees that are fallen onto private property.

Mayor James says hundreds of city workers will be on the streets this weekend, helping fill requests from residents. He says the city’s 311 phone lines are jammed with callers, and advises Twitter handle @KCMO311 might be an efficient way of getting through.

“We ask everybody to be patient,” James said, who also pointed to the city's website for more information about how to get help with storm damage.

Chuck Caisley with KCP&L says the power company is using workers from outside electric companies to assist locally, and by the end of Saturday, he projects 90 percent of customers having their lights back on.

“I really want to thank the city,” Caisley said. “We wouldn't be where we are today having 50 percent of customers restored if not for them.”

Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte says there will be three dropoff sites across the city, all open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday to accept your leaf and fallen tree limbs.
• 1815 N. Choteau Trafficway
• 11660 N. Main Street
• 10301 Raytown Road

Shelter is also in place for anyone in need of air conditioning or medical assistance at the Gregg Klice Center on Buck O’Neill Way. That facility’s phone number is (816) 513-0652.