Work to restore power in neighborhoods hit hard by storms early Sunday is expected to extend into the work week.
Lincoln Electric System said 19,000 customers lost power as downdrafts from thunderstorms overnight caused significant tree damage.
By 9 p.m., LES said that 1,500 customers were still without power. The local utility called in help from the neighboring Norris Public Power District, Loup Power District and Southern Power District.
"They are staying overnight and working into (Monday)," LES spokeswoman Rachel Barth said.
Promising when service would be restored is difficult, she added, because of the number of individual outages, many of them caused by downed trees.
The power outage caused the streetlights to go out at several intersections, including 56th Street and Normal Boulevard. Drivers are asked to treat signaled intersections with no power as four-way stops.
Fallen trees are widespread across town, but the corridor along 56th Street south of O was among the hardest hit.
Stephanie Davenport lost and regained power in her College View home seven times throughout the night.
“It was just hellacious,” she said, describing the storm. “And it just kept coming.”
She spent Sunday cleaning storm damage around her neighborhood, including fallen branches.
No severe weather warnings were issued ahead of the overnight storms, although National Weather Service forecasters did warn that storms were nearing severe levels as they approached the area.
The extensive tree damage in Lincoln was likely the result of a microburst, said National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Fobert. In a microburst, a downdraft can cause extensive damage over a localized area.
The weather service says 1.93 inches of rain fell at the Lincoln Airport between midnight and noon. The heaviest rain — 1.25 inches — was reported between 1 and 2 a.m. when the first of the power outages occurred.
There was a report of a 54 mph wind gust at the airport and winds gusting to 59 mph in the city.
Union College students Diana Lazo and Elisa Salazar watched the storm from inside their dorms at Rees Hall.
“There was a lot of wind and rain,” Lazo said.
Because of the weather, Sunday night's scheduled concert at Pinewood Bowl was moved to Pinnacle Bank Arena.