(Memphis) The winter storm is to blame for keeping tens of thousands in Memphis without power and in the cold while temps dropped way down to the teens.
In the snow, sleet, and slick ice, Memphis Light, Gas, and Water crews worked all over the county.
“We don't want our customers to be without services longer than they have to,” said Gale Carson Jones with MLGW.
The burly, brisk, and blistering blasts of wind snapped trees as though they were toothpicks.
“There's a lot of ice on the trees and the wind blowing is knocking the trees down. They are falling into our power lines,” said Carson Jones.
That's what happened at Michael Taylor's house in Frayser. The power went out around 8 Sunday night.
Taylor has two small children.
“How did you keep your babies warm?” asked WREG’s Elise Preston.
“They slept in the bed with me, we had to snuggle up,” replied Taylor.
Carson Jones says this storm is the toughest they've seen all winter when it comes to outages.
“All season we were told ‘Memphis is going to get hit, Memphis is going to get hit.’ We dodged the bullet, this time we did not. We have ice everywhere,” said Carson Jones.
It was so tough, utility workers from all over the country, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Alabama are in town helping. Most of the help is in the northern part of Shelby County, where the most outages are.
Carson Jones says it could be a few days before some folks get their power turned back on.
“I know it's difficult to ask our customers to be patient, but we're working as fast as we can,” said Carson Jones.
Taylor says his kids can't wait. In the meantine, they are headed to his sister’s house.
MLGW says don’t assume an outage has been reported. Call (901)544-6500 if you are without power.
Storm restoration updates as of 6:20 p.m.:
- Currently, there are about 17,000 customers without power.
- MLGW has restored power to more than 45,000 customers.
- Downed trees weighed with ice and power lines are the primary cause of these outages; damage is spread across Shelby County with more damage occurring north of I-40, in the Raleigh/Frayser and Shelby Forrest areas.
- MLGW is estimating full restoration to take several days.
- MLGW crews are working 16-hour shifts in an effort to restore power.
- Fifteen mutual aid crews from Alabama, Indiana, Missouri and will begin assisting
- MLGW crews with restoring outages Tuesday morning.
- MLGW's Customer Care Center will also be open until 7 p.m. to assist customers.
Customers are reminded to call the following numbers:
- · To Report an Outage: 544-6500
- · To Report an Emergency (such as downed lines or gas leaks): 528-4465
- · All Other Inquiries: 544-MLGW (6549)
Outage numbers can be tracked via MLGW's outage map at www.mlgw.com/outagemap.