Storms knock out power to 4,000
June 22, 2011 at 1:22 a.m.
FORECASTThe Victoria area could see more rain on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. There is a 40 percent chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms during the day and a 20 percent chance Thursday night.
More than 4,000 electric power customers in the Crossroads were without electricity at various times Wednesday morning as strong thunderstorms moved through the area.
In addition to high winds and lightning, Victoria had about of an inch of rain, according to the National Weather Service. Rainfall data is collected at the Victoria Regional Airport.
Benina Belinda Santos, who lives in Victoria, was affected by the first outage. Awakened when the power went out, she couldn't go back to sleep even at the early hour.
"I had no air conditioning and I have to have my fan to sleep," she said. "So I just laid in bed and listened to the rain."
Victoria experienced the first major outage about 2 a.m., said American Electric Power spokesman Elgin Janssen.
"It affected 1,612 customers in Victoria. All customers were returned to service at 4:36 a.m.," Janssen said.
The customers affected by that outage were along Ben Wilson Street south of Rio Grande Street and along the Port Lavaca Highway, said Janssen.
Then about 8:30 a.m., another storm blew through Victoria causing an outage at the AEP Leary Lane substation. affecting about 1,580 customers, said Janssen.
Lightning struck a pole on a main feeder line in the 3000 block of Mockingbird Lane causing the outage. Customers along John Stockbauer Drive north to the Victoria Mall were affected, Janssen said.
Mall businesses and about half the other customers were returned to service at 9:55 a.m. After replacing the damaged pole, the remaining 750 customers were returned to service at 10:57 a.m., Janssen said.
"At the peak of the outages there were approximately 3,000 customers out of service within the district," Janssen said. "The total number of customers out of service over the morning period was approximately 4,200 district wide."
Kevin Heil's home on John Stockbauer was without power for about two hours starting about 8:30 a.m.
"It really wasn't a hardship," he said. "It was the longest power outage I have witnessed in years. Thank goodness it was in the morning cool hours.
"It did put us behind on getting the house ready for a child's birthday party this evening," Heil said on Wednesday. "But least we got some needed rain."
RURAL AREAS HIT
Victoria Electric Cooperative, which serves some of the rural areas around Victoria, also reported outages.
Lightning caused outages on the main circuit about 4 a.m. and service was restored by 10 a.m., said Lester Green, operations manager.
About 1,500 customers were affected in the Nursery, Mission Valley and Telferner areas, Green said.
"We've had all our service trucks out," he said. "There were a few scattered outages here and there that we were still dealing with Wednesday afternoon."
About 200 additional customers were affected by the scattered outages, Green added.
Other major outages were handled by AEP in were 590 customers in Port Lavaca, 810 in Palacios and 500 Bay City, Janssen said.
A tornado warning was issued in Calhoun County Wednesday morning, but no funnel clouds were reported, according to the NWS.
That needed rain was more substantial in two of the counties adjacent to Victoria, according to the county extension agents there. Both agents hope the heavy rain will be provide relief for ag producers.
In Goliad County, extension agent Brian Yanta said he had one report of 3.9 inches of rain Wednesday morning.
"This rain will basically stop the bleeding. We were headed down an awful path, one all too familiar, unfortunately," Yanta said. "It should give producers a little more time to make a decision on destocking their herds."
Reports of at least three inches of rain also fell in DeWitt County, said Anthony Netardus, county extension agent.
"As far as crops go, this rain event will only benefit the cotton farmers in DeWitt County," Netardus said. "The grain crops - corn, grain sorghum - are pretty much already done, so this rain won't help them."
"Cotton has really been suffering over the past couple of weeks. This rainfall will help it out a lot, however it remains to be seen just how much," Netardus said. "I think this rain will ensure that there will be a cotton crop this year. We just don't know yet what the yields will be."
Netardus is optimistic the rain will help hay production, too, but said more is needed.
"Range and pasture conditions have suffered tremendously and have deteriorated to critical levels of production," he said. "For the most part there has not been any hay made in DeWitt County this year. This three-inch rain will 'paint the countryside green' for sure and will get our range and pasture grasses growing again.
Because the conditions have been so severe for so long, it will take follow-up rains to get these range and pasture conditions back producing at needed levels, Netardus said.
Before Wednesday's rain, Goliad County had only about five inches of rain in 2011 and 6 in DeWitt County.