Power crews hustle to restore service to customers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Power crews hustle to restore service to customers

Joe Wheeler EMC said they had nearly 1,000 left without power Thursday afternoon. Joe Wheeler EMC said they had nearly 1,000 left without power Thursday afternoon.

A winter storm managed to leave thousands without power all across the Tennessee Valley. Many folks in Morgan and Lawrence counties remained without power Thursday afternoon. Clear skies and sunshine led to a rise in temperatures and the melting of some snow, which allowed power crews to begin repairs.

In Huntsville, crews worked to clean up fallen limbs and downed trees, allowing utility workers to fix power lines quicker. Huntsville Utilities said they had about 2,500 without power in Madison County, but nearly everyone is back up and running.

But for those in Morgan and Lawrence Counties, Joe Wheeler EMC said they had nearly 1,000 without power Thursday afternoon. Later in the evening, officials said that number actually increased to 2,300. They said their crews are working as quickly as possible to restore service to those without power.

Crews said the reason for the increase in outages is due to people getting home and cranking up the heat immediately, causing transformers to blow. Also, the weight of snow continues to break tree limbs which then fall onto power lines. 

One resident who went without power for much of the day said the outage is nothing he couldn't handle. "Yesterday I made sure we had plenty of stuff for today and tonight. I was prepared for it," said Bobby Ledbetter. Ledbetter's was one of the residences whose power was restored.

Joe Wheeler officials said the storm created a unique situation for them. They said instead of power lines going down and entire neighborhoods losing power, hundreds of transformers blew, leaving groups of just two or three homes scattered around the county without power.

Crews said as soon as one transformer is fixed, another blew elsewhere. The scattered nature of the outages led to longer response times, which is why Joe Wheeler called for backup. Three other electric companies from around the state, one from as far as Montgomery, came late Thursday afternoon to lend a hand.

There is no set timeline for when all power will be restored. Many crews have been on the clock for 24 straight hours and will likely stop work overnight, ready to resume again Friday morning.

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