Breckenridge Texan

Ice wreaks havoc around county

Ice wreaks havoc around county
February 22
17:56 2018

Twin brothers, Noah Baisch, left, and Jaxon Baisch, 10, slide down the hill at the Breckenridge City Park Thursday afternoon. They were at the park with their parents, Jason and Tori Baisch, and grandparents, Larry and Rhonda Bradford. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The heavy ice brought by the winter storms that moved through the area yesterday and this morning is wreaking havoc on power lines throughout Stephens County, according to Breckenridge Fire Chief Calvin Chaney.

At about 4 p.m., Oncor’s power outage map showed at least 10 outages in Stephens County affecting almost 200 electric customers. Eastland County was experiencing at least 50 outages affecting more than 1,000 customers, and the Palo Pinto County area had almost 2,000 customers without electricity.

In Stephens County, the Texas Department of Transportation was working with the fire department to shut down some roads, including State Highway 67, until downed power lines could be removed from the roadways. Highway 67 was shut down briefly about a mile north of Ivan, but it has been reopened now. Chaney said they attempted to detour Highway 67 traffic onto FM 701, but downed power lines on 701 required it to be shut down, too.

“We got power lines down everywhere,” he said. “All over town…transformers blown, poles down, it’s unreal what we got going on.”

With Oncor inundated with service calls, Chaney said J&J Electric offered to check the downed line on Highway 67 and move it off of the roadway so that it could be reopened to traffic.

The biggest problem today has been the ice weighing down tree limbs, which then pull the power lines down. “Some of it is just ice on the line, but most of it has been tree-related,” Chaney said.

The National Weather Service is showing an overnight low of 33 degrees for Thursday night with a slight warming trend beginning about 6 a.m. Friday, Feb. 23. Friday’s high is predicted to be 50 degrees, and the NWS puts the probability of rain and thunderstorms at 90 percent for Friday.

On Saturday, the NWS expects this area to see thunderstorms in the morning hours with gradual clearing and an afternoon high temperature of 69 degrees. Sunday is predicted to be sunny with a high of 68.

More closings

When it became clear that the outside temperatures wouldn’t warm up enough to melt the ice in time for a 10 a.m. school start on Thursday, Breckenridge Independent School District Superintendent Tim Seymore decided to cancel classes for the second day in a row.

He said in a text message Thursday morning that school officials will make plans for a make-up day when they return to work on Friday. Wednesday’s day off was the last “weather day” the school district had available. Now, BISD students will have to attend classes on a previously scheduled day off, or the time can be made up by adding additional minutes to the school day over several days.

Additionally, Early Voting, which had started on Tuesday, was canceled Wednesday and Thursday because of the icy roads. Early Voting is expected to resume at 8 a.m. Friday in the Stephens County Courthouse. Early Voting will continue next week, from 8 a.m. To 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Election Day will be Tuesday, March 6, and voting will take place from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the county’s various precinct polling places.

 

Story by Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown

Cutline, top photo: The Texas Department of Transportation briefly shut down State Highway 67 near Ivan Thursday afternoon, Feb. 22, while a J&J Electric crew assisted the Breckenridge Fire Department in removing a downed powerline that had fallen across the road. The highway was reopened before 4 p.m. Thursday. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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