News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
MONDAY, JULY 2, 2007

Weather kills 14,055 Decatur residents’ power

By Deangelo McDaniel · 340-2469

A thunderstorm that raced through the area Sunday dumped much-needed rain, but it also left thousands without power, blew over trees and damaged businesses.

The most significant reported outage happened on the south side of Decatur, where 14,055 customers lost power for one hour and six minutes.

A Decatur Utilities spokesman said lightning struck the Cedar Lake Substation at 1:34 p.m.

At about 1:37 p.m., a tree fell on a power line in the Hickory Hills area, leaving 137 customers powerless for about 30 minutes.

The storm also left some of DU’s industrial clients on the Tennessee River without power for about 90 minutes.

DU officials said lightning struck a 46,000-kilowatt line on Alabama 20 near the railroad tracks.

The lightning caused the line to snap, which triggered the railroad crossing guards to come down.

Decatur Fire and Rescue had to manually remove the guards and divert traffic until officials removed the power line from the road.

Witnesses reported seeing two large sparks, one in the air and one on the ground near the live power line.

In the Hulaco community of southeast Morgan County, District 4 County Commissioner Stacy George reported trees across roads and damage to the Hulaco General Store on Alabama 67.

“It looks like straight-line winds peeled back the roof on the building,” George said. “We had a lot of trees down in the Ryan community.”

According to the National Weather Service office in Huntsville, the storm developed west of Decatur and moved eastward toward Priceville.

The south side of Decatur received the most significant rainfall, about three-fourths of an inch, the spokesman said. Other parts of Decatur received between one-fourth and one-half inch.

Dispatch centers in Lawrence and Limestone counties said they had no reports of damage.

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