Crews work through tough environment to restore power in flooded communities

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HUMPHREYS COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Crews have been hard at work trying to get the power restored to homes impacted by last weekend’s catastrophic flooding.

According to Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative President and CEO Keith Carnahan, one of the big problems with restoring power has been all the debris. Crews have had to take cars off power poles and there were homes that were wrapped around power poles.

“We’re going through roads that are damaged, we can’t get there, bridges that are washed out. It’s tough to navigate. And some of those rural areas tried to get where we need to get power back on. But our guys are doing a fantastic job doing it,” said Carnahan. “With the help of all the emergency management and the county sheriff and the city police officers they’ve been very helpful, along with TEMA and also FEMA.”

Crews are also dealing with heat and humidity, so they have to try to stay hydrated while working in this dangerous environment.

“It’s tough for our guys, you know, their friends, their families, their people to go to church with, they go to the supermarket and they see them day in and day out,” said Carnahan. “But they know it’s a vital service and just getting some power back to people is just to have lights and water and things of that nature, in a home is so comforting to know that and these guys are working hard through some pretty tough environments out there and try to get as much work done as they can.”

At the height, MLEC had about 10,000 people without power in the three major counties that were affected by the flooding. The latest data showed Humphreys County had about 2,000 without power. However, there were hundreds of more people who cannot be returned to service until damaged homes are repaired. Hickman County has about 30 members affected by outages, and there are isolated outages in Houston County as well.

“You see the true American spirit here in this city over the last few days,” said Carnahan. “There are water stations everywhere, people pull out their grills and just cook and walk by they’ll give you a hamburger and hot dog, whatever you need. It’s the community coming together and it’s amazing to see.”

He believes they’ll have the majority of the power restored by the end of Tuesday to those who can get it.

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