Severe Storms and Wind Cause Downed Trees and Power Outages
By Greg Ritchie
HOUSTON COUNTY – A line of heavy storms and wind blew through Houston County and surrounding areas late Thursday, Mar. 2 causing widespread electrical outages and fallen trees and limbs complicating work on power lines. As of press time, The Messenger knows of no injuries caused by the storm.
Houston County Emergency Management Director and Fire Marshall Heath Murff told The Messenger there was a big spike in emergency calls as the thunder and lightning rolled through our area. Local firefighters were busy most of the night dealing with downed trees blocking roadways and affecting power lines.
There were two minor accidents reported shortly after the storm, one on F.M. 2022 and one on TX-HWY 7 just east of Ratcliff with very minor injuries. Both accidents being caused by debris in the road. Houston County fielded around 50 calls with reports of downed trees.
At the peak of the electrical outage, over 8,000 residents in Houston and surrounding counties were without power, according to HCEC’s (Houston County Electric Co-Op) Kathi Calvert.
She said the worst affected areas had been near Augusta and Liberty Hill. HCEC suffered at least 12 broken poles with crews struggling to get things cleared up since the damage was spread out over a wide area.
By late Friday afternoon, a little over 200 power meters were still out with crews looking to finish the last of the cleanup Saturday after a well-deserved rest. HCEC still had crews on-hand for any emergencies.
Grapeland ISD was forced to cancel school after power outages were found at the Early Childcare Center and the Junior High. As of press time, all power had been restored.
The storm brought cooler weather to the area and winds as high as 50 miles per hour. The weather stabilizes next week, with no rain in the forecast and highs in the upper 70’s before another storm and cold front is set to hit the area next Friday.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]