Labor Day Thunderstorms Move Through MadisonSep 6th, 2011 | By Staff | Category: Front Page
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The storms that moved through the county Monday caused minimal hit-or miss damage with localized rain, said Tom Cisco, Director of Madison Emergency Management Services. It seemed to be mostly general thunderstorms moving through quickly as part of the distant rain bands swirling around Hurricane Lee, moving in a northeasterly direction.
There was word of a power line down in Lee, but no major events, and no injuries. “In Madison, with all the trees we have, there’s always a tree down somewhere after every thunderstorm,” said Cisco, but he had no reports of multiple trees down in any one location, blocking roads or causing other problems.
The rain, too, seemed to be heavily localized. How much rain people got depended on what part of the county they lived in. Cisco estimated that he got about two inches of rain at his house, in Madison.
Progress Energy could not be reached busy Tuesday morning because their circuits were all busy, but Wayne Bass of Tri-County Electric said that while the storms didn’t cause any major damage in Madison, it did drop a limb on a power line in Taylor County and knock out a substation, leaving several hundred customers without power until the damage could be repaired and the substation brought back online.
In Madison County it was a matter of keeping up with the storms that rolled through. As soon as they had tree limbs pulled off line and power restored in one area, another line of storms knock out power somewhere else.
“We had a lot of limbs on power lines, but probably no more than 300 people were without power at one time,” said Bass. Because the storms moved through in bands, the damage was “spotty” but it kept coming. It started after lunch, and Tri-County soon had nine crews out clearing limbs from lines and getting power back to their customers.
Then, another band of thunderstorms would sail through cause more outages. “That was a long day,” said Bass. While they had most of their customers back online by midnight, another line of storms came along after that, meaning some of those crews worked all night.
Overall, Bass estimates that about 600-700 people in Madison lost power at some point, although the highest number he saw on his outage machine at any given time was 285.
While there were some trees toppled, it was mostly just limbs, and the most damage seemed to have occurred west of Greenville toward the Jefferson County line.
With the storms coming through pretty fast, the damage and outages were “real spotty,” said Bass. “It wasn’t a really significant event…there wasn’t a system-wide outage.”