Storm Recovery: Cherokee County

One of the worst hit areas in East Texas is Cherokee County.

After the storm, Cherokee County Electric Co-op says 75 percent of their customers lost power.  Now, officials are reporting that number is less than 18 percent.  Co-op employees, many who don't have electricity themselves have been working non-stop to get the power back on.

There are lots of broken poles, transformers ripped from their mounts, leading Jim Bob Lindsey with Cherokee County Electric Coop to say it's one of the worst storms he's seen in his 28 years with the company.  "We have miles and miles of wire to cover and unfortunately the line doesn't always go down the road.  They go through the woods, through the creek bottoms...It's a slow process to get around."

Lindsey says their employees are working 18 to 20 hours a day, many of whom then go home to no electricity themselves.  "All these guys (cut out) they live in this area, they go to school in this area.  "You know their wives back home want to know why their husband can't get their power back on, but they have to stay out on the field."  For the most part, Lindsey says their customers have been very patient.

In the meantime, many have been going to Wallace-Thompson Hardware in Rusk to buy a generator.  Pam Moore says there has been people in line, 20-30 deep, needing generators.  The further south you go Lindsey says the worse it gets.

Businesses in Rusk got their power back on earlier this week, many in Alto are still without power, but, by Friday Lindsey says everyone should have electricity.  He gives all the credit to "the guys in the field."

Cherokee County Electric Co-op called in crews from six different electric companies for help.  They have 40 trucks working out of their service area.