High winds help cut off power to more than 1,000 Monday
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Aug. 22, 2006 -- Hot, outflow winds from thunderstorms in Oklahoma hurtled into Sulphur Springs just after 6 p.m. Monday with a blast of hot wind that cooled later, but not until more than 1,000 area residents and businesses in the south part of the city lost all electric power.

"We had a pine tree come down," said TXU's Randy Lloyd. "The feeder out of Martin Springs was knocked out."

The tall pine, its roots weakened in the extremely dry ground, fell victim to the winds and fell into the feeder line, causing a short circuit and blowing a line protector.

Lloyd said that power was restored to a majority of those affected within about 10 minutes. For a few others, the wait was slightly longer.

Some residents in the northern part of the county were also without power for several hours Monday.

The high winds are suspected as the cause of a downed power line on County Road 4581 in Birthright that caused a grass fire at 5:49 p.m. Hopkins County and North Hopkins firefighters were at the scene until 7:47 p.m. to extinguish the fire. They remained at the location until utility officials could take care of the lines, which were hanging low enough to catch on passing vehicles, according to sheriff’s reports, which also state power continued to be off at the location until after 9:30 p.m.

The winds were produced by thunderstorms along a cool front lingering just north of the Red River. The storms died out and moved to the northeast, but not into parched Northeast Texas.

Weather forecasts do hold a slight chance of rain for seven of the next eight days, according to meteorologists Tuesday morning. The showers and mostly cloudy skies may provide some slight relief for heat-weary residents who have endured more than 30 days of 100-degree temperatures and almost no rain.

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