With their pets in tow, some Kansas City Chiefs fans in Johnson County said they had no choice Saturday but to check into a hotel after a snowstorm knocked out power for tens of thousands of people throughout the Kansas City metro.
The families were looking forward to watching the team take on the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL playoffs.
“It’s disappointing to me because we put all this money into having food and everything at the house,” said Tim Danner, who lives in Overland Park with his wife and dog.
Jennipher Collins also opted to stay in a hotel room Saturday with her husband, young daughter and 10 pets, including four chinchillas, three dogs, two rats and a rabbit.
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“I’m extremely frustrated. This happens all the time where we live in Prairie Village. It happens year-round and takes days sometimes to get it back on,” Collins said. “We pay a lot of money to live in Prairie Village like many other people, and the fact that the lines still aren’t buried is ridiculous.”
A KCP&L spokeswoman said crews were out all day Saturday trying to restore power after the winter storm dumped around 4 to 8 inches across the Kansas City area.
The lights for many customers went out before the Chiefs and Colts game was slated to begin.
“It might be good to start making plans to watch the game with friends or family if your power is out,” Gina Penzig, a spokeswoman with KCP&L, had said earlier Saturday. She cautioned people to check the road conditions before traveling anywhere.
“We have all of our available crews and contractors out working.”
By 2:35 p.m. Saturday — roughly an hour before the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts — more than 109,000 customers had been without power. Residents in Kansas and Missouri were affected.
The snow continued to fall and was heavy and wet through mid-afternoon.
“It’s not only accumulating on the trees but also on power lines and equipment,” Penzig said. “Road conditions are slowing crews down.”
Tom Willis, who lives in Overland Park, lost power around 5:15 a.m. Saturday. So did many of his neighbors.
He could tell the impact of the outage when he went to a nearby Starbucks Saturday morning. It was packed with people using the Internet and charging phones.
For Willis, it was bad day for the power to go out, not just because of the Chiefs game. There was also a University of Kansas basketball game on.
“It’s a double whammy,” said Willis said, adding that he was thankful his parents live nearby and they still had power.
And if power outages weren’t enough misery for local sports fans, they got something else to cause havoc in their lives Saturday afternoon. Google Fiber was also giving some local residents fits.
Customers reported connection problems, and Google Fiber was aware of the problem.
“Today is the WORST day to have an internet and TV outage!” KC resident Andy Wickersham posted on Twitter. “Snowed in all day so hopefully @googlefiber comes through for us in #KC in time for our @Chiefs game!”
Tom, from the Google Fiber team, responded: “Hi Andy, I apologize for the service interruption but we’re working to resolve the outage as soon as possible. Rest assured you’ll receive a credit for the downtime of service.”
At around 1:45 p.m. — less than two hours from kickoff — Wickersham still didn’t have Google Fiber Connection. But he was making due.
“I have the pregame streaming through Apple TV using my phone hotspot,” Wickersham said in a message to The Star. “So far so good!”
Another fan wasn’t faring so well Saturday afternoon.
Angela Pritchett tweeted: “Power is out which helps take my mind off the @googlefiber outage bc I really didn’t want to watch @Chiefs game anyway.”
Photographer and videographer Tammy Ljungblad contributed to this report.