Thousands of residents in Katy area left without power due to ice

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by khou.com staff

khou.com

Posted on February 10, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 10 at 10:20 AM

HOUSTON – More than 50,000 people in the Katy area were left without power late Wednesday as frigid temperatures hovered across Southeast Texas.

CenterPoint Energy blamed the outages on high winds and the accumulation of ice on power lines.

The power went out around 3 p.m., leaving more than than 83,000 customers without power. Many of them were left in the dark for hours, and said they struggled to find ways to stay warm, including huddling up in their cars.

The power was slowly coming back for some customers Wednesday evening, but CenterPoint could not say when the lights would come back on for everybody.

The company said the icy and windy conditions in some parts of town were making the power lines basically bounce into each other.  It said the ice makes the lines very heavy, and when the wind blows them into each other, they trip each other off line.  The company called it galloping conductors.

A hard freeze warning remained in effect until 10 a.m. Thursday. 

ERCOT called for energy conservation between 6 and 9 a.m. in hopes of preventing the rolling blackouts that occurred during last week’s ice storm.  

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