Many Independence residents still waiting in the dark after storms

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- The number of people without power in Independence continues to drop, but it may be Tuesday before all of the city has its power back on.

Much of that it due to mature trees knocked over in Saturday night's storm. Those trees or their branches, like much of the metro, landed on power lines and poles.

Much of those power outages are in batches of 10 or 12 homes affected around the Independence area. As of Monday evening, roughly 1,000 people still didn't have power, down from a peak of 17,000 Saturday night.

Crews based in Independence, and from other cities in Missouri, have worked day and night to restore power.

Still, some people will have to wait until Tuesday, meaning they'll approach 72 hours without power.

Erica Gross's family has coping without air conditioning down to a science. They spent a lot of time in their Kia SUV.

"We just leave once in awhile," said the mother of three children and three dogs. "We go places that have air; we sit in the car for a little bit with the air on.

She added, "the kids are in the back, in the pool. Just trying to stay as cool as we can."

Independence Mayor Eileen Weir

The city of Independence is one of the few in the metro that provides its own utilities to residents.

"If you have one customer out," said mayor Eileen Weir on Monday, "you worry about it."

Weir said keeping the utilities provided at the city level means the city can respond better and faster than its larger, corporate counterpart.

But sometimes, problems are unavoidable.

"It's Mother Nature," said Weir, "and no matter how much you prepare, sometimes these things happen, especially in the Midwest in the summertime."

The city of Independence will start collecting tree branches on Wednesday. Many cities around the metro have already started their limb pick-ups.

But Independence, since it's one of the few municipalities that provides utilities to residents, says it wanted to focus on turning the lights back on. Then, after that's accomplished, it will start accepting branches.

That limb drop-off begins Wednesday at 8 a.m. at 875 Vista in Independence, and runs 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until August 6.