Friday Storm Leaves 95% of Winn Without Power

Friday Storm Leaves 95% of Winn Without Power

In the early hours of Friday morning, an unnamed storm of brief endurance but considerable fury rushed through north central and northwestern Louisiana, leaving a swath of damage to roads, power supplies and communication.

The first call to the 911 system in Winn came at 2:44 a.m., reportinig a downed tree, and the local Office of Emergency Preparedness estimated that 95% of Winn’s households were without power at some time or another during the night. Some saw their power restored quickly, others were still waiting. Many homes fired up generators and lines at gas stations with operational pumps were long by Friday morning.

OEP officer Cranford Jordan said an all-out effort to make roads passable was made by numerous departments cooperating with crews clearing trees and debris. Names included two prison crews, Police Jury crews, Dodson PD and Atlanta PD, Winn Correctional and DOTD crews on state roads. Volunteers are always in the picture in situations like this, Jordan said, where almost every pickup truck comes with a power saw and someone willing to use it. The same holds of local loggers with their skills, tools and willingness to help.

Cell tower damage around the parish was evident as many residents experienced access difficulties during the day but that seemed to improve by Friday evening. Internet outage was also widespread. “We stay prepared all the time but this one caught us by surprise,” said Jordan. “We didn’t expect it.”

Winnfield Mayor Jerald Hamms echoed those thoughts of the sudden strength of this storm. “It was unexpected.” He told the Journal that the city’s electrical crew had been on the job from the outset, working on problems with the power lines. At the same time, the street department has been out, working to handle downed trees and limbs blocking streets.

“I’d say they’re working non-stop but we do pull them in for a short rest, taking a break for safety. That’s a primary concern, safety.” Hamms said he was able to get three crews in from Lafayette to assist with the repairs here. “They may have to overnight, depending on how long the job takes.” From the safety viewpoint, the mayor encourages residents to report downed trees and power lines but not to try to clear them up themselves.

Police Jury President Josh McAllister reported that the parish road crews started at daylight Friday, facing 30 impassable roads. By evening all had been cleared, though Sylvan Meadows was a narrow passage due to a transformer issue. “Everybody’s out working as hard as they can.”

He told the Journal that he’d spent most of his time working with Entergy and SWEPCO in efforts to hasten repairs that would benefit the elderly and water systems. The city has placed emphasis on getting power to the hospital and nursing homes.

Storm Downed Tree. (pix car driving under tree in lines)
Winds from the June 16 severe storm left trees and limbs on power lines and blocking roads all across Winn. In the calm after the storm on Saturday, a car drives under a tree still suspended in the lines on Ethel Street.