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Windy weather brings power outages, weather woes across Crossroads


March 19, 2012 at 5:03 p.m.
Updated March 18, 2012 at 10:19 p.m.

Arthur Schomburg takes a chain saw to a tree that fell near Tran Do's house on Westchester Drive in Victoria on Monday afternoon, after strong winds reached 69 mph the previous night. A dent on Do's car was the only damage.

For one Victoria family, Monday brought more than the typical start-of-the-week duties.

It also brought extra yard work.

Mimosa Street resident Karissa Salinas woke at 6:30 a.m. Monday and prepared to begin her work day with Tails to Nails Grooming. When her husband urged her to glance outside, however, she saw the night's heavy winds had downed a tree dangerously close to her children's swing set.

Another tree broke its fall.

"I'm just glad it didn't fall backward," the business owner and mother of three said. "It would have taken out the 6-foot fence behind it, and we have outside dogs."

Salinas wasn't alone in her weather woes.

Victoria experienced widespread power outages beginning just after midnight Monday, said Elgin Janssen, spokesman for AEP Texas. At the peak of the outages, more than 4,000 customers were without power.

The two largest outages took place on different sides of town, he said, noting about 3,000 customers were affected between U.S. highways 87 and 77, in the area of Loop 463. Another outage, which ran along Business U.S. Highway 59 between Sam Houston Drive, the loop and into the Colony Creek area, was the result of a pole that fell due to high winds, Janssen said.

The National Weather Service measured wind gusts up to 69 mph in Victoria, Forecaster Jason Runyen said.

Vickers Elementary School, 708 Glascow St., was among those places that went dark, but things ran fairly smoothly, Principal Steve Carroll said. The tardy bell rang at 7:45 a.m. and power returned a half hour later.

"With the little light we had, we were able to do instruction," he said, noting some lights operated by generator, flashlights were available and the morning sunlight helped. "The kids did a great job."

Small outages continued through Monday because of disengaged transformers and the like, Janssen said, and were expected to continue. Crews will work to complete repairs as quickly and safely as possible, Janssen said.

"We ask customers' patience as these spring storms move through and move to more moderate weather conditions," he said.

Salinas said her family also experienced an outage shortly after 1 a.m.

"I heard the wind and woke up to see that everything was pitch black," she said. "The neighbors across the street had their door open with candles but, eventually, everything came back on."

As for her tree, she said, she wasn't too surprised to know it couldn't take the strong winds. With the dry weather, most trees are still parched, she said, and weaker than usual.

"I expected it to happen somewhere, but not in my yard," Salinas said of the fall.



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