Rising water keeps Orange, Vidor residents steaming in the dark
By Dave Rogers / For The Record
Entergy reported 26,000 Orange County customers without power – and air-conditioning — at midday Saturday – nearly four days after Tropical Storm Harvey inundated Southeast Texas with record rainfall.
That’s half of the 52,000 outages reported by Entergy Texas in an area that includes counties east and northeast of Houston all the way north to Huntsville.
The power company says its workers are unable to work faster because waters continue to rise from the Neches and Sabine Rivers.
“Additional flooding has increased flood water depth from 6 feet to 8 feet of water in some places. Flooding not only prevents restoration, but floating debris is causing additional damage that must be repaired,”Entergy said in a Saturday afternoon news release.
Orange County only has 36,000 residences, according to the U.S. Census. Its population is about 82,000.
According to its website at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, 10,582 outages existed in 77662 zip code, which serves Rose City and most of Vidor; 7,069 outages remained in the 77630 zip code, which serves much of the city of Orange, and 6,458 outages remained in 77632, which includes Mauriceville and north Orange. (The 77662 and 77632 zips extend into southern Newton County.)
Bridge City, in zip code 77611, had fewer than 200 outages.
A total of 167 Entergy workers were in the field Saturday in Orange, Vidor and surrounding areas with additional workers en route, the company said.
“The most significant damage is to the transmission lines that feed the substations. Three substations remain out, impacting downtown, Old Town, Lamar and Front Street, 16th Street, as well as Little Cypress, Bridge City, West Orange, Mauriceville, McLewis and Winfree,” the release sent along by Debi Derrick said.
“In the Vidor area, approximately 85 percent of customers remain without power after losing most of the transmission power lines serving the substations.
“Workers are located in all substations making repairs and preparing equipment to allow for restoration once the transmission lines are energized.
“However, additional rising water is expected today in Orange, which will impede progress. Large sections of customers will be restored as power returns to these substations.”