Isaac knocks out power to half of Louisiana, TN crews to help
COOPERTOWN, Tenn. -
Nearly half of Louisiana is without power in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaac.
The Public Service Commission Thursday morning said 901,000 homes and businesses around the state, or about 47% of all customers, were without power.
Isaac's center bypassed New Orleans and its newly fortified levees as a hurricane Wednesday but flooded areas to the city's north and south, where people had to be evacuated or rescued.
It weakened slightly to a tropical storm but was still packing strong winds and torrential rain as it moved slowly across Louisiana Thursday.
Five trucks and nine linemen left from the substation in Coopertown early Thursday morning for Greenwell Springs, Louisiana.
Brian Barrow, foreman of the assisting crew from Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation, told Nashville's News 2 they'll be joining some 40 other electric coop line workers from across the Volunteer State.
"Restoring power is what we'll be doing and trying to help everybody we can trying get everybody's lights on," he said.
It's a situation Barrow is familiar with as he also went to lend a hand to those devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
"Well I don't think the devastation was as bad as Katrina but the rain is more of an issue than anything, [it] flooded everything so that's my concern, about getting around in the flooded areas and we just may have to wait it out to get to some of these people's power back on," he said.
The crew doesn't know how long they will be in Louisiana but Barrow says they will stay as long as they are needed
"We won't know that until we get there and we will stay as long as they need us," he said. "We just go help each other out and try to help the people get their lives back together."
In neighboring Mississippi, utility companies said Thursday they were working to restore power to more than 150,000 customers in south and central parts of the state.