HARLINGEN — Linemen Tuesday continued to work to restore power to thousands of homes across the Rio Grande Valley after Hurricane Hanna’s winds tore down power lines and blew out transformers three days earlier.
AEP Texas brought in about 300 linemen from out-of-state to help restore power to about 30,000 customers across the Valley, spokesman Eladio Jaimez said.
In Harlingen, about 1,500 homes remained without power while as many as 300 customers braved outages in San Benito.
Along Garrett Road, Harlingen officials closed a section off Dixieland Road to allow crews to repair downed power lines after heavy winds knocked down several poles.
In Willacy County, about 6,000 homes remained without power.
“There are still some residents without power,” Raymondville Mayor Gilbert Gonzales said. “There were several transformers that blew out in town.”
Next door in Hidalgo County, Mission stood as the hotspot, with about 6,000 customers still in the dark after Hanna knocked out power following the storm that hit Saturday afternoon.
For days, outages have led many residents to book hotel rooms to flee Hanna’s muggy wake as temperatures climbed into the 90s.
Flooding slows restoration
Across the Valley, the Category 1 hurricane knocked out power to about 152,000 customers after it made landfall just north of Port Mansfield at about 5 p.m. Saturday, Jaimez said.
In Cameron County’s low-lying areas such as Santa Rosa, widespread flooding was slowly receding.
Linemen continued to struggle to restore power in Santa Rosa and other flooded areas, Jaimez said.
“With any major storm, the difficulty would be the conditions,” he said. “Although the rains have stopped, some areas remain flooded like Santa Rosa or neighborhoods and alleys so it’s very hard to maneuver those heavy trucks in muddy conditions.”
In Harlingen, Mayor Chris Boswell said upgrades including the widening of a 13th Street drainage ditch and development of two retention ponds near the Adams Crossing subdivision helped hold back floodwaters.
“I think everyone should be pleased with that. I think the system performed well and the improvements we and Cameron County Drainage District No. 5 made all worked together,” he said. “That’s a lot of water and our streets remained clear and drained pretty fast. We’re not out of the woods yet.”
Internet service returning
In Willacy County, Hanna’s winds battered transmission towers, knocking out internet service while weakening cell phone signals.
On Tuesday, VTX1’s technicians were restoring internet service to hundreds of customers.
“Our technicians have restored service to all but one of our wireless towers,” Denise Barrientes, the company’s customer service, help desk and marketing manager said.