Dallas County power outages will last multiple days as more storms approach, officials say

Power outages caused by severe weather Tuesday morning in dallas County will likely span days as more storms approach the region, officials said.

County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins signed a declaration of disaster as more than 322,000 residents were without electricity. Oncor reported more than 600,000 of its customers, including Dallas and Tarrant counties, were experiencing an outage as of Tuesday morning.

“This is not a [power] generation problem like we sometimes have when it’s cold or in the heat of the summer,” Lewis Jenkins said during a news conference at the Dallas County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “This is a broken lines problem brought about by straight-line winds.”

Lewis Jenkins said workers responding to the outages face several challenges moving forward, especially as storms are expected to bring more rain and winds to the area as soon as Tuesday evening.

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“The damage itself is not unusual because we do have straight-line winds frequently here in North Texas, but the extent of the damage and the number of the customers affected is unusual,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 14 years and I don’t remember ever having a multi-day event quite like this one.”

Crews restoring power will prioritize critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and nursing homes, which may be operating on generators, he said, and county officials are working with cities to open public cooling spacesrecreation centers. He said water treatment plants are all still operable so drinking water in the county is safe.

Lewis Jenkins said just because someone’s power is out Tuesday doesn’t necessarily mean it will be out multiple days — but it is a possibility.

Tuesday morning’s storms created baseball-sized hail, winds exceeding 80 mph and a “significant amount” of cloud-to-ground lightning, Oncor spokesman Grant Cruise said, but linemen were prepositioned to respond to outages and mobilized immediately to critical facilities.

Assessment crews were also out in the region looking at isolated outages as of Tuesday afternoon, he said.

“We did have a significant number of downed lines because of this weather event,” Cruise said. “In many cases, it’s not going to be simple repairs. We’re looking at complete reconstruction for parts of our area.”

Cruise said Oncor has requested assistance from other utility agencies across Texas and outside the state “to get them here as quickly as possible.”

He said crews will work around the clock, as weather conditions allow, to restore residents’ electricity.

Officials said they understand the situation is frustrating but asked residents be patient.

They also encouraged people to avoid driving, especially in high-impact areas; check in with loved ones who may need help if their power is out; and stay home if it’s safe to do so.

Related:What should you do in the aftermath of Tuesday’s North Texas storms?


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