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Multi-day restoration effort underway to get power back on after biggest storm outage since 2002

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Thousands of Kansas City Power and Light customers woke up to darkness Friday morning after strong winds and rain moved through the metro Thursday night and into Friday morning. Due to the recent wet weather the ground is extremely saturated and  trees that usually withstand heavy winds were uprooted and damaged power lines.

According to Chuck Caisley with KCP&L, this storm is now the biggest single storm outage since the ice storm of 2002.

"The storm really at the worst time in terms of being able to restore power. It's very difficult to be able to work on lines at night," Caisley said.

Additionally, the storm lingered and further delayed restoration.

"Electricity and water don't mix," said Caisley early Friday morning.

He said the hardest hit areas were in Grandview up through Blue Springs and Independence.

Caisley added that they have heard reports of outages as far north as St. Joe and as far south as Nevada.  In total 103,000 homes are without power. Click here for the outage map on the KCP&L website. Crews will work around the clock and into Saturday to get power restored. Caisley called it a "multi-day restoration effort."

Kansas City, Mo., leaders held a news conference Friday afternoon and provided a phone number for people to call if they need a place to stay Friday night due to storm damage or power outage. That number is 816-784-1135.

Scroll down for more pictures of damage and uprooted trees

From Facebook:  M. Tiffanie Northeast Smart Avenue between Benton and Indiana

From Facebook: M. Tiffanie Northeast Smart Avenue between Benton and Indiana

"The storm hit really at the worst time in terms of begin able to restore power,"  Caisley said. "It's very difficult to work on lines at night and that's only hampered by the fact that the storm is still sitting over many parts of  our service territory and electricity and water don't mix."

Caisley said crews were in the process of evaluating where all of the damage is so they can create a plan to start repairing damaged power lines. If you have a special circumstance that could be a life or death situation, Caisely said to call KCP and L so they can to make restoring power to your home a priority.

The heavy rain that accompanied the storms caused water to cover roadways including an area near at Agnes and Swope Parkway. The tow truck driver who responded to a stalled vehicle along the road told FOX 4's Kathy Quinn that he had been on two water rescues Friday morning prior to the one on Swope Parkway.

"I feel really stupid," driver Thouraya Almaliky said. "I knew better. I thought about it. There were cars behind me, and I didn't feel like I could turn around and so I just decided to chance it and it was a very bad decision, very bad."

Almaliky said she had never had a problem with the high water along Swope Parkway.

Dakota Tuck with 24/7 Towing told FOX 4 that many drivers don't realize how high the water is until it is too late.

"When in doubt get out," Tuck said.

The city said this is the worst storm they have seen since an ice storm in the fall of 2002.

The 311 call center in Kansas City said they would be fully staffed Friday and all city hands would be on deck. Employees from the water services building had to relocate their office to the city call center for the day Friday because power was out at their building.

Call center employees said they took more than 1,700 calls between 7 a.m. and noon. At one point, 100 people were on hold. Due to the high volume of phone calls the city said they will be updating KCMO.gov and @kcmo311 Twitter all day.

They said they want to remind residents that the city is only responsible for space between sidewalks and streets, so people should take care of their yards. Leaf and brush drop off sites will be open normal hours all weekend and the city is encouraging people to use them.

Hours and locations for the drop off sites are as follows:

  • 1815 N. Chouteau Trafficway; open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Friday, June 26, 2015
    Saturday, June 27, 2015
    Sunday, June 28, 2015
  • 11660 N. Main Street; open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Friday, June 26, 2015
    Saturday, June 27, 2015
    Sunday, June 28, 2015
  • 10301 Raytown Road; open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    Saturday, June 27, 2015
    Sunday, June 28, 2015