• January 18, 2019

Stormy weather could lead to power outages - Odessa American: Business

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Stormy weather could lead to power outages

Oncor: Be prepared, have a plan for extended outages

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Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2018 12:00 pm

Weather forecasts show a high chance of strong winds Thursday which could mean more power outages for those in the Permian Basin.

A mix of rain and snow may also occur, but northwest to north winds will be the main hazard, a Midland-Odessa National Weather Service weather brief stated. Meteorologist Rick Hluchan said winds around 60 mph and above are considered severe, and Thursday will bring winds around 35 mph with gusts over 50 mph.

“What we’re really stressing is it’s going to be an all-day event and it’s not just going to be a few minutes of time,” Hluchan said.

He said a sustained period of very strong winds can weigh a little more on trees that may be stressed and increase the chances of tree limbs or holiday decorations becoming flying objects.

Hluchan said the mix of rain and snow is not predicted to produce accumulation, but will likely be similar to what residents experienced last weekend.

“Always when there are storms there will be some sort of outage normally,” Oncor Area Manager Sue Mercer said. “It’s unpredictable as to where it will be or how many customers it would affect.”

Hundreds of south Odessa residents and Oncor Electric Delivery customers reportedly experienced power outages throughout Saturday. The cause of the outage was unknown, but Mercer speculated that it was probably weather related.

The utility company serves about 77,300 people in Ector County and Mercer said 888 of those customers were impacted during the incident. She said a major pole was damaged that required more time to repair.

“We encourage people to always be prepared in case there is any kind of outage,” Mercer said.

She said the first notice of the Saturday outage came in at about 1:23 a.m. and power was restored to about 42 percent of those affected by 9:30 a.m. For other residents, the wait for power lasted close to 16 hours.

Thelma Cordova and her family live in Pleasant Farms and were without power for most of the day.

“They kept changing the restore time,” Cordova said. “We left our home because it was freezing.”

Cordova said she is eight months pregnant and was navigating the outage with her three-year-old, 5-year-old and a 2-month-old puppy.

“It was extremely exhausting for all of us,” Cordova said.

She said her family considered renting a hotel room for the night after text messages from Oncor said the restoration time for her location was unknown at 6:25 p.m. Cordova said her power was restored at about 7:45 p.m.

The Oncor spokesperson’s main recommendations for planning ahead included having a flashlight on hand and selecting an alternate location to go to in case of an extended outage.

To report an outage, call 1-888-313-474 or visit Oncor's Storm Center.

Odessa, TX

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