Power problems in Putnam Co. expected for days


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Thousands of people in Putnam County are without power Tuesday night. However, crews are working quickly to restore it with temperatures continuing to drop.

“We have about 13,000 people without power in Putnam County,” said County Mayor Randy Porter.

Temperatures sit well below freezing in Putnam County as residents wait for power to be restored.

“We lost power around 2:45p.m. yesterday, and haven’t had it since. And then, the water went out this morning,” said Cookeville resident Jennifer Phillips.

It’s a one-two punch for Phillips, and others, on Brotherton Mountain. Downed trees and snapped power poles cut power to essential services.

“They are hooking up generators to the pumping station, and according to Algood City, they are hoping to have those up and working in the next hour or so,” said Porter.

Parts of the county experienced a quarter-inch layer of ice weighing down power lines throughout the area.

“Power crews would get a line put back up, and within 10 minutes, there’d be another tree falling on it. And, knock it back out,” explained Porter.

“It’s a complicated challenge,” said Jennifer Brogdon, CEO of The Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation. “In some cases, we’re chasing our tail.”

Crews from East Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, and as far away as North Georgia are heading this way to help. Even still, residents should prepare for lingering outages as another winter blast rolls through.

“With the ongoing nature of the storm, and freezing cold temperatures, it’s likely we’re going to be battling for a few days,” explained Brogdon.

Mayor Porter stressed the importance of planning for the second round of winter weather – now. “If you don’t have food. If you don’t have shelter. The [message] is, make sure between now and then you get prepared.”

Cookeville First Baptist Church is open as a shelter. “It will be a nice warm place,” said Porter, “Bring your own bedding or chairs.”

But if you don’t have to go out, please don’t. Power crews stressed there’s risk leaving your home.

“Even though the electricity at your home is out,” said Brogdon, “Some of the wires could be hot. So, that could cause a very dangerous situation.”

One that Phillips recognized, “I can’t imagine what they’re going though, and their families are going though, with them being out in this and working such a dangerous job restoring power for all of us. We really appreciate all that they’re doing.”

Washington Avenue Baptist Church said their gym is available for residents without power at a first come, first serve basis. They also ask to provide your own bedding and to wear a mask.

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