KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - The straight line winds that whipped through the southern part of Kilgore just before daybreak Thursday left thousands without power.
The strong winds toppled trees and power lines. Mark Robinson, SWEPCO external affairs manager, says crews have replaced more than 30 broken poles and fixed about 50 crossarms. On top of that, he says thousands of feet of wire have been replaced or repaired.
Robinson said those numbers are more like what SWEPCO sees when they respond to areas hit by a large tornado or an ice storm.
“This is just several neighborhoods so the damage it did is pretty phenomenal,” he said. “Yesterday because it was so dark we had to work with a lot of lights and then as the sun came up we really kind of got a good idea of where we’re at, how much damage we have and what we’re really dealing with.”
He explained there is a two-pronged approach to restoring power: assessing the damage and gathering resources.
“This is how many poles we have broke. This is how many transformers are down. This is how many spans of wire are down on the ground. Then we start calling in for resources,” Robinson said.
There are also several agencies that have to work together, including tree crews and the city.
“The City of Kilgore was a huge help with their streets and their parks department. They have bulldozers and chainsaws and they helped us clear roads (and) we helped them identify some of the spots we need to be a participant in so that they weren’t getting themselves in trouble either," Robinson said.
If you still don’t have power, you may be experiencing what’s known as a specific outage, and even if all your neighbors have power, “you may have damage between your transformer and your home," Robinson added.
SWEPCO’s online outage map shows there are still more than a thousand customers in and around Kilgore who are waiting for the lights to come back on. At the height of the outage, about 9,300 customers were without power.
Robinson urged residents to continue to be careful because there were still a lot of wires down Friday afternoon.