Ice storm leaves thousands of East Texans without power
POSTED: Monday, March 3, 2014 - 6:38pm
UPDATED: Monday, March 3, 2014 - 7:25pm
Tyler Tx, (KETK) — Thousands of East Texans are still without power and some residents might not be getting their power back until Wednesday. The power outages happened mostly in Smith, Gregg and Upshur County. The power outages didn't go much farther north than Mineola and didn't go as far south as Jacksonville.
When the storm hit around 3:30 Sunday afternoon, 13,000 Oncor customers in Smith County were without power and about 20,000 Swepco customers in Gregg County.
"This is the worst ice storm we've had in Tyler in the 7 years I've been here," said Charles Hill with Oncor.
"Sleet doesn't bother us, snow doesn't bother us much, but the freezing rain has been the huge issue especially with all the pine trees," said Hill.
Most Oncor customers without power are in the Smith County area. Those customers hit, haven't had power since 7:30 Sunday night and for Swepco customers, most of them lost power between 10 and midnight.
"The hardest hit areas have been Longview, Gladewater and Gilmer," said Scott McCloud with Swepco.
But, both companies are having crews come in from other areas. Swepco is getting help from Shreveport and Natchitoches, Carthage and Oncor has help coming in from Dallas, Killeen, Waco and other places. But, some of the crews have been stuck on icy roads since 8 p.m. Sunday night. Oncor said their biggest help is a helicopter they brought in.
"If we can get in the air and patrol our major circuits, that really helps us a lot to get where the broken poles are, tree trimming, where we have a wire down," said Hill.