That was quite the storm

I hope everyone reading this is safe and coping well after that Thursday storm. Our power has been out since Thursday evening, so things are a little chaotic. But we’re fine, we’ll be fine, and there’s plenty to be done to help the folks who really need it. I’m not going to try to track all that’s going on – there’s too much, especially with limited access to power and WiFi – but I did want to note a couple of things. First:

With many residents still in the dark following Thursday’s storm, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo warned it would be “weeks and not days” before power is restored for some.

Hidalgo held a press conference alongside Mayor John Whitmire at Houston TranStar on Friday, seemingly a show of unity after the separate news briefings they held during floods earlier this month.

The storm took out 10 transmission lines, seven of which were in Harris County.

Repairing that damage “could take weeks,” Hidalgo said, adding that Centerpoint is bringing in thousands of workers from outside the area to help.

Hidalgo said when she asked weather officials why they didn’t see the massive wind event coming, she was told it was “at the peak end of an unlikely scenario to happen.”

Harris County hasn’t seen such strong wind since Hurricane Alicia in 1980, Hidalgo said.


Hidalgo said the county has taken the unprecedented step of requesting that damage be combined from two weather events – flooding that occurred earlier this month and Thursday’s storm – in hopes of meeting a threshold for residents to receive federal assistance. The damage from flooding alone was unlikely to reach the minimum requirement.

“At that point, we will certainly have enough affected individuals,” Hidalgo said.

They’re together and they’re talking, so that’s nice. Could have been nicer, though. Whatever we can do to get federal assistance, we should do it. I would like to think that the feds will be receptive.

And second, speaking about those power outages and getting them fixed.

Restoring power to the areas hardest hit by Thursday night’s storm is expected to take several days or longer, CenterPoint Energy said in a Friday morning statement.

“In certain parts of our service area where the damage to our infrastructure was significant, our restoration efforts are expected to take several days, and some of the hardest hit areas could take longer,” said Lynnae Wilson, CenterPoint’s senior vice president of electric business.

“We are mobilizing all our available resources, as well as mutual assistance resources from nearby utility companies, to begin the process of quickly and safely restoring power to our customers. We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we focus on the important work ahead,” Wilson said.

Nearly 922,000 customers lost power at the height of outages, according to CenterPoint’s statement. The company serves approximately 2.6 million customers across the Houston area. The hardest-hit area was likely over the U.S. 290 corridor from Jersey Village to Waller, in the north region west of I-45, according to CenterPoint.

Strong winds caused significant damage to the region’s electric system, including in Bellaire, Cypress, Baytown, Greenspoint, Humble and Spring Branch, according to the statement. CenterPoint plans to deploy mobile generators at certain substations to enable the company to temporarily restore power to certain areas, it said.

Restoration work is expected to continue through the weekend and into early next week. Information on particular areas will be provided to customers as repairs begin, CenterPoint said, noting that restoration times may be delayed as crews continue to assess damage.

I am reminded that after Hurricane Ike, it took some people three weeks to get power restored. I very much hope that things can move more quickly now, but the damage is extensive and it’s just going to take as long as it takes. The good news is lots of places do have power, so look around if you’re affected and hope for the best. And be patient, we’re all in this together. Hang in there. If you want to know more about just how intense and unusual that storm was, see here.

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6 Responses to That was quite the storm

  1. I was there says:

    Hurricane Alicia was in 1983

  2. Ross says:

    More folks than I would have hoped are taking to Nextdoor complaining that Centerpoint is moving g too slow and that all power should have been restored by now.

  3. Flypusher says:

    They think that all those big metal towers that got knocked down are quick and easy to put back up?

  4. J says:

    My power back on this morning after 36 hours. I hope others are as lucky. I expected days. In my neighborhood, some streets had power so transmission lines were not the issue.

  5. Ross says:

    Apparently. Plus, Some folks think the towers were cheaply constructed. They also think all power lines should be put underground without costing ratepayers a dime.

  6. Bill Shirley says:

    Kuff, I’m lobbying to name it… the Ides of May Superstorm.

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