HENDERSON, TX (KSLA) - Some entire towns in East Texas are still without power after Monday's storms, and SWEPCO says transmission circuits in those areas will have to be entirely rebuilt before it can be restored.
"We're doing assessments now, while we have got this good weather, a helicopter flying today, we're doing ground assessments to see how much damage. We've got transmission structures that are down all over East Texas and we've got to pretty much rebuild that system," said Scott McCloud, a SWEPCO spokesman.
McCloud says some of the hardest hit areas that will require extensive work are Henderson, Carthage and South Shreveport.
South Shreveport has some of the worst damage in Northwest Louisiana, with broken poles and wires in the streets.
Additional line crews began arriving Tuesday to assist with the restoration effort, including crews from Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.
"We're making some pretty good progress in Louisiana, but I tell you what, we've got some hard hit towns in Carthage and Henderson. Those towns are in the dark right now," said McCloud.
Some 60,000 customers were without power at the height of the storms.
Early Wednesday morning, less than 13,000 customers remained without power throughout the ArkLaTex. Shreveport power outages were at about 2,700.
"The storms caused extensive damage to SWEPCO's transmission and distribution system," according to a statement posted on the utility's Facebook page. "Trees down and flooding are making access to many areas difficult. Damage assessment is continuing and estimated times of restoration should be available later today."
In a tweet sent late Tuesday morning, the utility said, "We're working as quickly and as safely as possible. Assessment teams need time to develop accurate damage reports."
Another 11,000 were without power in the Panola-Harrison Electric Company Co-op service area as of 9 a.m. Tuesday.
PHEC serves Harrison & Panola counties in Texas, and Caddo & Desoto parishes in Louisiana.
"This will be a multi-day outage for some of those customers in the hardest hit areas," said McCloud.
In a release posted on the co-op's web site, PHEC said, "Currently we are experiencing widespread power outages in much of our service territory. Recent storms that produced high winds along with rising flood waters have made our power restoration extremely challenging. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
Although there is no estimated time of power restoration yet, please be prepared to make necessary arrangements for an outage that could last longer than usual.
Our linemen and out personnel are working diligently in hazardous conditions, and we will get your power back on as quickly as conditions and safety allow. Again thank you so much for your patience during this time."
Right now, the estimated times of restoration for customers in the ArkLaTex are as follows:
Gilmer – 150 – 5 pm Wed. 5/27
Gladewater – 45 – noon Wed. 5/27
Henderson – 3,986 – 10 pm Mon. 6/1
Kilgore – 218 – noon Wed. 5/27
Marshall – 122 – 10 pm Wed. 5/27
Ashdown – 90 – 10 pm Wed. 5/27
Atlanta – 62 – 10 pm Wed. 5/27
DeQueen – 3,425 – 10 pm Fri. 5/29
Mt. Pleasant – 1,174 – 10 pm Fri. 5/29
New Boston – 17 – 10 pm Wed. 5/27
Texarkana – 90 – 10 pm Wed. 5/27
Haughton – 84 – 10 pm Wed. 5/27
Shreveport – 2,761 – midnight (11:59 pm) Thur. 5/28
Mansfield – 66 – noon Wed. 5/27