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Severe weather leaves thousands without power in Kentucky

LOUISVILLE (Reuters) - Severe thunderstorms across southwest Indiana and into Kentucky left about 74,000 Louisville customers without power on Sunday, officials said.

The windy rains rolled through late on Saturday, and nearly 130,000 customers were in the dark at the peak of the storms, according to LG&E-KU Energy spokesman Chip Keeling.

Louisville, Kentucky was the hardest hit, according to the National Weather Service, although reports of wind damage and hail were recorded from Crawford County, Indiana to Lexington, Kentucky.

Roughly 1,000 wires were downed after the city was hit by gusts of wind up to 70 mph, Keeling said.

About 74,000 customers in Louisville remained without power by mid-day on Sunday, he said.

More than 400 technicians and tree trimmers were working to restore power, and another 900 workers from eight nearby states were expected on the ground by Monday, he said.

"It's going to be a couple days. We're probably looking at Wednesday," Keeling said, before power is completely restored.

Monday was supposed to be opening day at public schools in Louisville, but Mayor Greg Fischer said via Twitter that local schools would be closed.

More than two dozen schools were affected by the power outage, Keeling said, and downed wires and darkened traffic lights could also make for a messy first day of school.

According to the Weather Service, most of the damage was caused by powerful vertical winds, possibly in the form of downbursts, which can cause damage similar to low-grade tornadoes.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)

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