HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - When Tuesday night's tornadoes and strong storms came through the area, thousands were left without power. Crews worked around the clock to get everything back online. Joe Gehrdes of Huntsville Utilities says power has been restored in all parts of the county, but the repair work continues.
"I know we had 30 utility poles snapped by the high winds or trees blown into lines, and those type of repairs take some time," says Gehrdes.
While a sense of calm has returned to Ryland Pike, Tuesday night was a much different story.
Crews worked continuously from about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday all the way through Wednesday. By very early Thursday morning, we had all the storm associated power restored," he says.
Gehrdes says their crews found damage caused by all kinds of weather; lightning strikes, tornadic winds, and trees on top of power lines kept workers constantly on the move. “Thankfully we have good enough staff resources where we can rotate those crews in and out and everyone stays safe and fresh," he says.
The worst damage was concentrated in the Ryland and Sharp Cove area, but spotty outages were reported in every portion of Madison County. “That’s a perfect storm situation of what utility crews don’t want to see the most. What that does, it spreads us out," says Gehrdes.
He says temporary fixes were made to get the lights back on. “Then double back and do a lot of the repair work because it’s lengthy and folks don’t want to wait the time it takes to make all those repairs," says Gehrdes.
Joe couldn't estimate how long the full repair process will take, but hopes the community will help them spot problems as recovery efforts continue.
“Anytime people out in the community see things that don’t seem right with the system - don’t assume that we know. Give us a call, tell us about it, we want to know that," he says.
Joe also warned that when big storms like these come through, a lot of times equipment on the power poles can be damaged without crews noticing. He says the next really cold night we have, where everyone is using a lot of power and puts a surge on their system, you could see additional power outages.