Wind, lightning cause weekend power outages

A severe weather weekend in the Heart of Texas kept city utility crews busy as high winds and lightning caused power outages late Friday evening and then again on Sunday afternoon. According to electric department head Randy Barrows, three and four-man crews were first called out Friday around 11 p.m. as a strong storm blew through McCulloch County with high winds accompanied by heavy rains and pea-sized hail. “Our first crews hit the streets Friday with a number of calls for power outages,” said Barrows. “Friday’s problems were mostly wind related’trees being blown into the lines and causing shorts in the lines. That is a big reason we have already implemented an aggressive tree trimming program in the city.” Crews worked for several hours before getting all problems rectified. The biggest electrical problem over the weekend occurred Sunday afternoon when lightning struck the north substation located near the bridge at Hwy. 87 North. The lightning strike blew three 69,000 volt fuses and shut down power to Brady’s entire north side. According to Barrows, the city crews were able to reroute much of the load from the north substation to the south substation located on East 17th Street. That substation provided power for residents until the north substation was brought back online mid-morning Monday. “We were able to have about 95 percent of the affected areas back on within an hour or so, but it still took several more hours to get everyone back up and running,” said Barrows. “When it all happened, we had to divert all of the power to come from that one south substation. Once we got that done, we were able to begin isolating the smaller problems that happened during the entire event.” In reiterating the importance of communication with the city, Barrows and his crews emphasize that when power goes out, it is imperative that citizens call in their address to city hall if it occurs during business hours or to the police dispatch if it is after hours. “We do our repairs based upon the number of customers on a particular line,” said Barrows. “Nursing homes, the hospital and those homes with people on medical equipment like oxygen take priority, but after those are addressed, we start working down the list.” Power line safety is also a concern for Barrows and his crews. One instance occurred this weekend on the north side near Surefed Feeds where a line burned and fell to the ground. “If people notice a power line on the ground, they need to call it in, and then stay as far away as possible,” he said. The weekend storms added another 3.06 inches officially to the annual total for Brady. For more safety tips about power lines, visit the LCRA web site at http://www.lcra.org/ energy/safety.html.

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