Energy crews ready for another round of potentially damaging winds

Austin Energy crew (KXAN Photo)
Austin Energy crew (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Energy says crews are prepared to respond wherever necessary Friday and into the weekend, as storms make their way into the Austin area, with high winds expected.

Just two days ago, early Wednesday morning, severe thunderstorm winds measured as high as 67 mph, tearing down tree limbs and knocking out power. Austin Energy says it recorded winds up to 71 mph in Lakeway, and 30 utility poles were knocked down across Austin. Wires were down in 75 locations, and 600 locations needed repairs, mostly for downed trees.

A spokesperson for Austin Energy says 350 lineman worked earlier this week to restore energy to customers, some of whom were without power for nearly 24 hours, others, until around 9 p.m. Thursday. At peak, there were some 22,000 customers without power. Austin Energy says its most significant outage its experience since Memorial Day last year. At that time, around 50,000 customers were without power, but damage from this week’s storm had crews firing on all cylinders.

“There was so much wind and so much lightning, there was damage to the equipment all over the city,” Austin Energy’s Carlos Cordova said.

As Austin Energy counts the numbers, Lee Jefferson says he’s counting his blessings.

“We feel blessed that it was only to the point that it was,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson says family lost power from 3:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., but received no damage to their home. In the 50 years they’ve live there, he says he’s never experienced a power outage that long. Austin Energy says it’s doing all it can to avoid a second punch of prolonged outages.

“They should all be rested up and ready to work again overnight and this weekend, if needed,” Cordova said.

To report outages, call 512-322-9100.

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