A Memorial Day storm to remember: Linemen work to restore power in Parish

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Restoring power after a catastrophic storm requires more work than simply flipping a switch. SWEPCO has restored power to approximately 10,938 customers in the Valley Area as of May 30 at 4 pm , down from a peak of 24,000 customers after Sunday’s storm, May 28. Approximately 6,295 customers remain without power in Natchitoches Parish, including Goldonna.

The NPJ visited the Goldonna area to check on residents and document storm damage. Don Wells said the storm ripped the roof right off of the Goldonna Baptist Church. It also damaged Goldonna Elementary and Jr. High School.

The estimated restoration times for the Natchitoches Parish area is Thursday, June 1 by 5 pm. Power may be restored prior to this. While some people may question why it’s taking so long, there’s simply that much damage. There were around 15 downed utility poles just within a few mile radius of Goldonna.

Sunday night’s storm packed winds of up to 60 miles per hour and downed power lines and trees across SWEPCO’s East Texas and Louisiana service territory. Two EF-1 tornados were confirmed by the NWS in the Longview area. Almost 800 men and women, including 501 line and 287 tree personnel, are working to restore power to SWEPCO customers.

SWEPCO has restored the main circuits from its substations. Now it is tackling the tough distribution lines along streets, in neighborhoods, alleys and backyards where crews can see major damage on poles, wires, cross arms and transformers.

Goldonna Mayor Verna Bedgood said it was scary. “It was a Memorial Day to remember,” she said. “When I came out of my house Monday morning all I could see was trees blocking the roads.” She and her husband, Parish Councilman Rodney Bedgood, said they’re blessed there was no damage to their house.

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