The effects of a powerful winter storm that rolled over the Pineywoods on Sunday were still being felt two days later, as thousands of people remained without power.
Oncor spokesman Roger Lindsey said Nacogdoches County and the immediately surrounding area suffered the brunt of the storm, which left some 12,000 customers without power at the height of the event.
“Right about 5:00 Sunday afternoon it started,” Lindsey said Tuesday. “We’ve been going ever since.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, about 2,400 out of Oncor’s 24,290 customers in Nacogdoches County were still without power, he said.
San Augustine-based Deep East Texas Electric Coop had more than 4,000 customers in Nacogdoches County alone without power as of Tuesday morning, according to the company.
Across the company’s Deep East Texas area, the storm knocked out utilities for between 17,000 and 20,000 customers.
Across the co-operative’s service area, which includes San Augustine, Sabine, Shelby, Cherokee, Angelina, Jasper, Panola, Rusk and Newton counties, some 16,000 people lost power at the height of the storm’s damage.
Lindsey said line workers from surrounding areas and even out of state were brought in to help clean up from the storm, which he said was akin to a hurricane in how it affected the power grid.
“This is one of the toughest storms we’ve had in a long time,” he said. “This did damage across the system. Heavy, wet snow is not our friend.”
The preliminary snowfall total for Nacogdoches County was 4.7 inches, though as much as 6 inches was reported in the Appleby area, according to the National Weather Service in Shreveport.
That accumulation was responsible to toppling tree limbs onto power lines and causing hazardous road conditions.
From Sunday to Monday, Nacogdoches firefighters received nine reports of downed power lines and a smattering of electrical issues. In the county, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a slew of road-hazard calls and vehicle crashes and stalls, including a major wreck at the intersection of U.S. 259 and state Hwy. 204.
Around 6:20 p.m., deputies were dispatched to the area around U.S. 259 and CR 910 — near the large, long hill south of Camp Tonkawa Road — in response to a stalled-vehicle call that involved multiple vehicles, according to the office’s activity log from that day.
More than four and a half hours elapsed between the initial report of the stalled vehicles and when the last deputy logged the call completed, according to the log.
Deputies weren’t just called on to assist with traffic calls, but even to aid people facing difficulties brought about by the power outages.
In one incident, they helped a woman start her power generator, according to the Jan. 12 activity log.
School districts across the county suspended classes Monday as a safety precaution.
Six of the county’s nine public schools delayed opening Tuesday as a precaution against predicted hazardous road conditions caused by another cold Monday night — a move also taken by Stephen S. Austin State University and county and city offices. Three of the county’s public school districts canceled classes outright for Tuesday, citing the road hazards and power outages.
Rising temperatures predicted throughout the rest of the week are expected to quickly erode the lingering snow.
Oncor’s Lindsey said most of the repair work was expected to be completed by Tuesday evening, though some work might continue Wednesday, while the Deep East Texas Electric Co-op expected full restoration of power by Wednesday evening.
Lindsey encouraged residents to report any potentially unsafe or questionable conditions they see to Oncor by calling 1-888-313-4747.