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Power back, cleanup today





WaKEENEY -- Western Cooperative Electric crews will be back in the field today cleaning up the mess left in the wake of Friday's fast-moving storm.

Twenty-five power poles were toppled in the storm that swept through portions of western Ellis County and eastern Trego County.

The poles were downed in two locations, including a nearly mile long stretch just west of the Ellis blacktop on Butterfield Trail Road.

A half-mile-long stretch of poles was downed in the other location.

The downed poles were back up, and the lines energized by 4:45 p.m. Saturday -- just shy of 24 hours after the power was dropped.

The Butterfield Trail line is a main feeder line and normally would have carried electricity as far away as Schoenchen.

There's been no official estimate of the wind speed responsible for toppling the lines, but Western line foreman Darryl Steckline said the line has been tested before and withstood the challenge.

Not so Friday.

While that storm didn't bring a lot of rain, it kicked up dust and strong winds.

The Butterfield Trail line was on the south side of the road, and the straight line winds pushed them to the north.

The outage also knocked out two other lines leading out of the Ellis substation, a heavily used transfer site.

Approximately 300 customers -- residences, oil wells and farmsteads -- were affected by the outage.

A few oil wells remained without power this morning.

"We're cleaning up today," Steckline said.