Strong winds cause damage, outages in Russellville

Strong winds blew through Russellville March 3, resulting in damage to the Russellville Electric Board’s power system.

REB general manager Charles Canida said numerous outages began being reported soon after the initial heavy rainstorm and associated winds passed through.

“The subsequent sustained winds that followed caused additional trees to fall on power poles and lines, causing scattered outages around the REB service area,” Canida explained. “We had to utilize our entire workforce, as fallen trees had to be cut to provide access to our downed lines.”

Canida said REB employees worked until approximately 8 p.m. Friday night restoring all power, except for a few isolated areas, with those areas being restored Saturday, as soon as they were reported.

He said the hardest-hit areas of damage occurred around Mahan, College and Hill avenues, with less significant damage scattered throughout the system in Russellville, including pole and transformer replacements.

“Around 7 p.m. Friday night, four REB employees, along with bucket trucks, assisted Franklin Electric with power restoration efforts to their system,” Canida added. “Those employees worked until approximately midnight that night.”

While REB employees were working Friday to restore power to REB’s system, numerous other local power companies reported outages to their systems as well.

REB employees were dispatched and reported to the Florence Electricity Department Saturday morning at 6 a.m. REB crews assisted Florence March 4-6  in the power restoration to their power system.

“We had 16 trees that went across the road,” noted Russellville Street Department Superintendent Shannon Wilson. “Some of them were on power lines. One tree fell on a car. The electric department took care of some of those trees, and we took care of the rest.

“Over the last few days, we’ve almost gotten the trees all cleaned up.”

Wilson said crews had to move the trees out the road, then go back and clean up everything else. “It’s taken us about a week to clean it all up,” he added.

“Everybody worked hard and worked together,” said Russellville Mayor David Grissom.

That’s not the only wind damage Russellville suffered recently. On Feb. 27, gusts shattered a window at the Russellville Public Library in downtown Russellville. Nobody was injured. Plywood was installed within an estimated “little more than an hour.” The library is waiting for the new window to be installed. The old window was not safety glass, but the new one will be.

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