|Lenoir City Utility Board on Saturday storms: Worst
damage since ’93 Blizzard
LENOIR CITY (WATE) – Lenoir City Utility Board workers have been working to make repairs for three days since strong storms rolled through East Tennessee.
Still, 200 customers remain without power. Several families who depend on well water also do not have running water.
The utility company says Saturday’s storms represent the worst damage to their electric system since the Blizzard of 1993. LCUB said they had more than 50 primary line poles broken, along with other repairs.
“We again ask for your patience while the restoration efforts continue,” said LCUB in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to our customers who are still without power & neighboring utilities with significant storm damages.”
Crews, tree trimmers, and contractors will continue to work through the night on large scale repairs, according to LCUB.
Families make do without power
“It sounded almost like a hurricane or a tornado. The rain was so hard and the wind was so hard it was actually pushing against the windows,” said Jim Merli.
Merli lives on Echo Hollow Road in Lenoir City. The storm left him, his wife and their eight children without power for more than 60 hours.
“We’ve been grilling out, so it’s kind of a party for the kids, but for us it would be nice to have the power back on. We like air conditioning and hot water and everything else,” said Merli.
They put ice in the cooler to try and keep the milk cold and they’ve been grilling food so it doesn’t go bad.
“We’ve made some popcorn on there, some hot dogs and some brats and hamburgers the other day. So it’s a picnic for the kids and I guess a picnic for us,” said Merli.
Merli says the power outage has kind of been good for the kids. It forces them to get away from the technology and have fun outdoors.
“The kids have been camping out because it is cooler out here. They’ve had slip and slides, badminton, volleyball and we had a little swimming pool. They made due with it,” said Merli.
Merli says even though they don’t like being without power they are making the best of it and are thankful no one got hurt.
Across the street, Cheryl and Patrick Ireland have been trying to keep themselves busy since losing power Saturday night.
“We are just trying to play some cards, Yahtzee, play some games, read books that’s really all we can do,” said Cheryl Ireland.
They also live on Echo Hollow Road where around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, they still didn’t have power, along with several of their neighbors.
“We lost everything in the fridge and I had just restocked everything for this big weekend so we’ve lost about $500 worth of food,” said Ireland.
The worst part for the Ireland family is being on well water. They have no power to pump the water from the well.
“When the power is out, you have no running water. You have no toilet so we are having to refill gallon water jugs and use that to flush the toilet,” said Ireland.
The Irelands have also been using the gallons of water they had to buy to brush their teeth. They’ve been using wipes to bathe. They also say even their dogs have been having a hard time with no lights on inside.
“Our dogs, they don’t know what to do. One is almost blind so we have to use a flash light for him to get around because he can’t see so you know even the poor dogs are struggling. They can’t find their water dishes,” said Ireland.
Around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday WATE 6 On Your Side called LCUB. They sent a truck to Echo Hollow Road and within 30 minutes, the power was restored