Power outages, road closures across East Texas

Published: May. 28, 2017 at 10:23 PM CDT|Updated: May. 30, 2017 at 5:30 PM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Electric companies are reporting numerous power outages around East Texas, after Sunday's severe thunderstorms.

Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative reported 1,575 customers without power Tuesday afternoon. At 10:14 p.m. Monday, Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative offered the following update:

As of now, we are currently down to 1862 members still out of service. Included in that number are two circuits out of the Hallsville substation. The majority of the lines on those circuits are covered in downed trees especially around the I-20 and Country Club Road areas. We have had our Right of Way clearing crews working on cleaning up the trees so our linemen and helpers can just come in and make the necessary repairs. We should be able to get several more on in the Hallsville area by this evening. In the East Mountain/White Oak areas, there are a number of broken poles and damaged transformers. Draco and Noonday areas still have a lot of major damage.

The majority of our Upshur Rural crews will be coming in tonight to rest. We have several new contractor crews coming in tonight that will work through the night. They will continue to focus on the Hallsville and East Mountain/White Oak areas as that is where the majority of our outages are located. We hope to have the number down to 1000 by the morning. Our crews that came in to rest will start fresh early in the morning and we expect to have everyone else up and running by tomorrow except for those members whose damages will require an electrician for their repairs.
We appreciate the patience of our members. This was a terrible storm and we are very thankful that personal injuries were minimal.

As of Tuesday morning, Rusk County Electric was reporting 5,000 people without power in Gregg, Panola, and Rusk counties.  At 5:25 p.m. on Monday, Rusk County PIO David Chenault updated the state of power restoration in the Tatum area:

As of late Monday afternoon, Tatum is still without power, although temporary power has been established at the fire station and the city's water facilities.  Swepco and Rusk County Electric crews worked through the night and day removing trees from downed power lines and replacing damaged poles. There is still no firm estimate on when power will be completely restored to the area.

Tatum fire crews, along with Rusk County Precinct 2 Road and Bridge employees and firefighters from several area departments, are still clearing trees and debris from city and county roads. Crews also spent time Monday morning in affected neighborhoods, going door-to-door, checking on individuals known to need power for medical purposes and helping them to secure temporary power.

An Emergency Operations Center remains open at the fire station in Tatum. Anyone needing assistance or shelter can contact the Tatum Fire Department at 903-947-2217. If it is an emergency, dial 9-1-1.

At 1:48 p.m. on Tuesday, officials with the company confirmed that 95% of SWEPCO customers are expected to have power by Friday at 5 p.m. They're not able to bring in any additional crews to Longview because the company is dealing with widespread damage in Louisiana, too, they said. However, they confirmed that they do have crews from Arkansas helping. There are 37,700 still without power in Texas. There are 21,440 without power in Longview.

As of 5:45 p.m. Monday, Southwestern Electric Power Co. said 65,000 customers remained without power. SWEPCO also released estimated restoration times for the following areas:

At 4 p.m. Tuesday, SWEPCO said that they had restored power to approximately 74,000 customers affected by Sunday's storms. Approximately 29,000 remained without power.

SWEPCO has restored the main circuits from our substations. Now we are tackling the tough distribution lines along streets, in neighborhoods, alleys, and backyards where we see major damage on poles, wires, cross arms and transformers. Thanks for your continued patience.

Outages and Estimated Restoration Times (for 95 percent of customers who can take power):

Longview Area (62,000 at peak – 18,228 at 4 p.m. Tuesday)
Carthage area – 447 - Wednesday at 10 p.m.
Gilmer area– 36 - Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Gladewater area – 1,305 - Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Kilgore area – 42 - Wednesday at 10 p.m.
Longview area – 16,202 - Friday at 5 p.m.
Marshall area – 195 - Wednesday at 10 p.m.

Oncor reported about customers were affected by outages in Angelina, Cherokee, Houston, Nacogdoches and Smith counties.

Houston County Electric Cooperative also reported several hundred outages in Deep East Texas. Sam Houston Electric Cooperative is also working to restore utilities for 572 of its customers.

Tuesday morning, SWEPCO released the following statement:

Sunday night's storm packed winds of up to 60 miles per hour and downed power lines and trees across SWEPCO East Texas and Louisiana service territory. An EF-1 tornado was confirmed in the Longview area. Almost 1,100 men and women, including 461 line and 625 tree personnel, are working to restore power to SWEPCO customers.

The estimated restoration times below tell when we expect to have power restored to 95 percent of customers in an area. Your power may be restored prior to our estimate.

Monday morning, SWEPCO released the following statement regarding power restoration efforts.

Last night's storm packed winds of up to 60 miles per hour and downed power lines and trees across the Ark-La-Tex. At the peak, 103,000 SWEPCO customers were without power.

SWEPCO crews have restored power to more than 23,000 customers as of 9 a.m. today. We will share estimated restoration times late this afternoon. Initial estimates are that it may take multiple days to restore service.

We're working as quickly and as safely as possible to assess damage, repair transmission lines and restore power to critical community services such as hospitals, nursing homes and police and fire stations. Then, we will prioritize power restoration by the number of customers affected on each outage.
Stay away from all downed lines. They could be energized!

Please report safety hazards by calling 1-888-218-3919.
Please check on family, neighbors without power and who spend a lot of time alone. Move them to a safe and cool place if they don't have power.


Many roads in the Gregg County area are impassable, because of downed trees and power lines. Drivers are advised to not drive over them, rather seek an alternative route.

The City of Longview posted the following statement:

Many traffic lights are still out of service so remember to drive defensively.

If the traffic signal is totally dark, all drivers are to stop at the intersection, then proceed as if the intersection had stop signs controlling all approaches unless law enforcement or other authorized persons are directing traffic or there are portable stop signs located on select approaches. 

If the signal is in flashing mode, drivers having a flashing red light are to stop and yield to other drivers before proceeding through the intersection. Drivers having a flashing yellow light are to proceed with caution.

Mobile users click here to view photos.

The City of Gladewater said the traffic signal was not functioning at George Richey Road and Highway 271. Drivers are advised to treat this as a four-way stop.

According to TxDOT spokesperson Rhonda Oaks, traffic is delayed on FM 139 and FM 353 in San Augustine County, as crews are working on clearing up the downed trees.

If anyone has been affected by this evening's storms, Red Cross is advising people to reach out to their 24-hour dispatch number: 866-505-4801.

See a map of SWEPCO outages here.

See a map of Oncor outages here.

See a map of Rusk County Rural Electric outages here.

See a map of Wood County Electric Cooperative outages here.

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