Storm causes major power outage
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
Jul 27, 2014 | 1277 views | 0 0 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A thunderstorm Wednesday night caused power outages to thousands of area meters served by the Gilmer-based Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative and Shreveport-based Southwestern Electric Power Company.

Some 9,500 Upshur Rural meters lost power, said Lynn Gray, the cooperative’s community development and member communication coordinator. However, only 470 remained out at about 2:20 p.m. Thursday, said Line Superintendent Dwayne Fennell.

In the Gilmer area, a peak of about 1,500 SWEPCO meters were without power at 10 p.m. Wednesday, but only 140 remained out around 3:15 p.m. Thursday, said Scott McCloud of the company’s communications division.

The storm, which began about 7 p.m., felled numerous trees and power lines, said Gray. She said the timeline for restoring power to the meters still without it would depend on what damage crews find.

While Gray said the outages were widespread in the 10-county area the cooperative serves, Fennell said the Kilgore and Soules Chapel areas probably suffered the most damage.

Although Upshur Rural sent out contracted crews as well as its own crews to restore service, some 3,000 of the cooperative’s approximately 45,000 meters had remained without service at 6 a.m. Thursday, Gray added.

She said trees fell on some houses, which will require repairs before service is reconnected.

McCloud said the “sustained windstorm” with speeds of 50-60 miles per hour interrupted power to 68,000 SWEPCO meters in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, including 18,800 in Texas alone.

He estimated power would be fully restored by noon Friday. SWEPCO brought in 200 extra workers from five states to assist, McCloud said.

Rain from the storm measured 0.79 inches at the Remote Automated Weather Station located at Fox Stephens Field-Gilmer Municipal Airport.
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