Storms put utility crews & first responders on edge

Overnight storms kept a few thousand Austin Energy customers in the dark and emergency responders on edge.

Crews with Austin Energy worked throughout the morning, sometimes in a steady downpour, getting the power turned back on. Up to 25-hundred customers at one point were without electricity.

"The outages were scattered, and they were mostly caused by blown fuses, and transformers getting hit by lightning,” said AE Spokesman Carlos Cordova.

Emlyn Resetarits was among those left in the dark Wednesday morning. A powerline transformer had been hit by lightning.

"I think it was really close, it woke us up in the middle of the night. … the fan stopped going, so yup the power is out,” said Resetarits.

By noon, with most utility customers back on line, Austin Energy's quick response strike teams were getting re-charged.  It could be another long night.

Emergency responders are also preparing for water rescues. Captain Mathew Rush said fire-fighters in Austin know how to do a water rescue.  135 have specialized training and of that number 36 are always on duty.

"As a city we have people strategically placed all throughout the entire area that can affect swift water rescues on a daily basis all throughout the year."

The last major flooding event, Memorial Day, prompted a change in how managers now prepare for major weather events.

"I don’t think we were as engaged on the pre-planning side with the weather folks and that sort of thing, we paid attention to the weather of course and with meteorologist and everything, What we are doing know is we are a lot more prepared to make those phone calls and beef up that staffing beforehand instead of waiting."

It’s a strategy that involves being flexible because the weather typically will not cooperate.

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