It’s been four days since a powerful thunderstorm downed trees and damaged infrastructure across Cullman County, but more than 1,000 local residents are still without power.
The Monday afternoon storm caused widespread damage to the Cullman Electric Cooperative system, which has left repair crews working around the clock to get the area back online. Straight line winds of at least 60-70 miles-per-hour caused significant issues in the late afternoon and night.
Approximately 20,000 customers lost power Monday at the storm’s peak, though more than half of those issues were solved within about a day.
Co-op spokesperson Brian Lacy said it’s taking longer to finish the final few thousand repairs is because of the nature of the storm, which downed several lines and damaged transformers all over the county.
“Approximately 19,000 have gotten their lights back on, which is great news, and we’re working as hard as we can get to get the rest,” he said. “In the early stages, you’re getting around 1,000 or more people back on with each repair, just because of the scope of the damage. But once it gets down this low, you may just be affecting 10-20 people with each new pole that’s placed or line that’s fixed.”
The remaining outages are still centralized around the hardest hit communities, notably Hanceville, Helican, Arley and Trimble.
“Those areas had the largest concentration and that’s where we’re still trying to get the entire system back up,” Lacy said. At the pace we’ve been going, and considering the damage still left to work through, it could be [today] or the weekend before every single person is back.”
Co-op crews continue to work around the clock, and Lacy noted several out-of-town repair crews are still roving the country to help as-needed.
“All the groups that came to help are still here and some other crews are here, as well,” Lacy said. “We won’t turn any help away until we’re completely back online.”
* Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.