As the eye of tropical storm Isaac passes over Houma in south Louisiana, drifting slowly to the northwest, AEP SWEPCO is preparing for the storm's arrival in the ArkLaTex.
The eye is expected to pass east of Shreveport on Thursday, with wind gusts reaching 40 mph and lasting as long as 12 hours. The storm is then expected to move toward Texarkana, with wind gusts of up to 30 mph.
As as result, SWEPCO says about 1,100 non-SWEPCO personnel are joining with SWEPCO employees to provide storm assistance to both the Valley and Shreveport Districts. They are coming from eight states and represent 16 different AEP and contract companies. Among them, 300 tree contractors. Crews will also be dispatched to the Texarkana area, if needed.
According to a statement released Wednesday afternoon by SWEPCO:
Because Isaac is moving very slowly, high winds (exceeding 40 mph) may stick around for 24 hours or so, preventing the use of bucket trucks to restore service. As soon as Isaac's winds subside, crews will be on the ground and in the air working to assess damages and make repairs as quickly and safely as possible.
Customers are reminded to stay away from any downed power lines and to contact SWEPCO immediately. Ensure that adequate supplies of food, water, medicines and other necessities are available in the event of an extended power outage. If electrical equipment attached to a home (known as weatherhead) is damaged in the storm, the home owner will need to have it repaired by a licensed electrician before power can be restored.
The SWEPCO Customer Solutions Center has staff working overtime to accept outages over the phone (outage number: 1-888-218-3919). Customers are encouraged to report outages via computer or smartphone at www.swepco.com.
Longer-than-normal wait times are likely for those who call to report outages.Stay tuned for outage information in traditional media, at www.swepco.com and in social media (www.facebook.com/swepco and www.twitter.com/SwepcoNews). Photographs of damage and/or crews working to restore power may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible
posting on social media, SWEPCO websites or other materials.
Another update is expected from SWEPCO late Thursday morning.