Power restoration continues amidst Friday storm threats

Published 2:47 pm Friday, June 16, 2023

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Local residents in Butler, Lowndes, and Crenshaw counties awoke Friday morning to renewed weather alerts after storms downed trees and powerlines Wednesday and Thursday. Utility companies, joined by neighboring service providers, continued working to restore outages even as continuing weather conditions caused new outages for some customers Friday morning.

Residents watched power outages numbers drop throughout the day and by 3 p.m. Butler County retained the highest percentage of outages, with 1,265 customers still without electricity.

Butler County Emergency Management Agency Director Rosie Till announced the Red Cross had initialized food distribution around 2 p.m. in Greenville Friday and officials were working on a site for the southern portion of the county.

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A Greenville Location for food distribution provided by Greenville McDonald’s is now operating for our community at the Greenville softball complex at 449 Mountainview Drive,” Till said. 

A south Butler County food distribution location opened later in Georgiana, and the Red Cross began serving meals at the Hank Williams Pavilion located at 127 Rose Street in Georgiana around 2:30 p.m.

More than 28,000 Alabamians remained without power at noon Friday, but by 3 p.m, that number had decreased to 17,575. Of those, 700 were in Crenshaw County, 352 were in Lowndes County, and 1,265 Butler County residents remained without electricity.

Hayneville, the Lowndes County seat, had been much like a ghost town Thursday morning, with county offices, schools, and many businesses closed due to power outages. But by late afternoon, most power had been restored and most offices reopened on Friday.

“Power has been restored to all Lowndes County government buildings,” said Lowndes County Sheriff Chris West Friday morning. “All County employees are expected to return to work this morning.”

Friday morning thunderstorms caused intermittent outages, and some Lowndes County residents reported their power was off again.

Pioneer Electric Cooperative reported outages affecting 2,465 members still without power at 3 p.m. on Friday. Butler County members accounted for 1,153 of the outages. Another 182 were in Lowndes County and 49 were in Crenshaw County.

“When you look at the outage map, you’ll see that the majority of the remaining outages serve a small number of members,” said Pioneer Communications Director Christ Scruggs in a social media post. “Many areas are difficult to reach in the best conditions, but the weather makes it even harder to get to some places. Even so, we are working to reach everyone as quickly as possible.”

More than 14,700 Alabama Power customers awaited power restoration at noon on Friday, impacting residents in Butler, Lowndes, and Crenshaw counties, with concentrations in Greenville, Fort Deposit, Hayneville, Highland Home and Lapine.

Roughly 1,300 South Alabama Electric Cooperative customers remained without power at noon on Friday as crews worked to restore the 169 coverage area outages as quickly as possible. 

Several wireless carriers experienced issues with their service due to the storms and members of Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, which serves 474 Lowndes County residents, announced Friday some members had experienced problems reporting power outages. 

Crenshaw County residents received news of a severe thunderstorm warning around 8:30 a.m.

According to Crenshaw County EMA Director Elliott Jones, the northern tip of a severe thunderstorm headed toward Dozier, bringing strong wind gusts, lightning, and heavy rains.

The Crenshaw County Sheriff’s Office alerted community members of several roads closed by storm damage – Pouncey Road in the 2,000-block due to a fallen tree and North Glenwood Road at the intersection of Gin Creek Road. At the time of publication, Pouncey Road was reportedly reopened. 

Jones said county officials are continuing damage assessment and bracing for more weather threats in the coming week.

“We continue making assessments,” Jones said. “We are down to a little over 700 people without power. That number is still high but it’s a lot less than 5,000 plus [at the peak of outages.] We have more weather coming this weekend. It’s going to rain on and off quite a bit for the next week. There’s already a lot of water on the ground, and when the ground is already saturated and winds blow, we have downed trees. We have seen more downed trees today just from saturated ground.”

Residents can monitor weather conditions over the weekend by following the U.S. National Weather Service in Mobile or Birmingham on social media. Citizens can also gain power outage information by visiting www.poweroutage.us

To report power outages or check restoration progress, contact the local power provider or check outage maps at the following websites.