MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As many as 43,000 customers were without power in the Memphis area Monday after a strong storm swept through the area, and Memphis Light, Gas and Water crews are out in force to get everybody back into the light.
MLGW crews have been rushing to get dozens of utility poles replaced so power can be restored. Utility crews from Indiana and Kentucky will be arriving Monday evening to assist.
By 4:30 p.m., the number without power had been cut to about 20,000.
MLGW’s president calls the storm “stronger than expected.”
“This one kind of caught us off guard,” said MLGW President and CEO J.T. Young. “It came in rather quickly, the wind speeds. And as you may know, there were two separate tornado warnings in Shelby County at the same time earlier this morning. I think that has had an impact, an adverse impact.”
While MLGW suffered damage to one of its substations, it’s anticipated that 80 percent of those impacted will have power back by midnight.
“At this point we’re still doing some assessment around the level of damage, but I certainly ask customers to bear with us as we work diligently to get customers back on,” he said.
The city of Memphis and MLGW are in the early stages of assessing damage to see if FEMA will declare this a disaster.
In the meantime you’re urged to report any damage to your property.
Robert Knecht, director of Public Works with the city, said if you have a tree down on your street contact 311. If you have flooding going on or standing water, contact 311. “If there’s any of these issues affecting your property right now, related to this storm, we need that information so we can do damage assessment. ”
“To ya’ll that got power, be happy. Because we are truly, truly messed up out here in East Memphis,” said Reggie Walker, who was forced out of the Cottonwood Apartments complex when high winds brought the walls down.