Katrina spares county

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Getting prepared for a hurricane seems to be the pattern here lately.

However, Butler County was spared this time with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina on Monday.

&uot;I feel very blessed for all of us,&uot; Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said. &uot;We only had a couple of trees down and very few power outages reported, but nothing major.&uot;

According to McLendon, the traffic lights downtown were out for about 30 minutes, but power was quickly restored. Power trucks were standing by, waiting for the worst.

&uot;I hope we don’t have to deal with this again anytime soon, but I’m afraid this is not the end of this pattern,&uot; McLendon said.

Butler County Emergency Management Authority Director Bob Luman reported that there were a few trees in roads, but they had already been cleared.

&uot;We had a few power outages reported Monday, but it was restored quickly,&uot; Luman said. &uot;No water problems have been reported in our area. Things looked really bad for awhile, but we were lucky.&uot;

Luman said that there was a large family from New Orleans staying at the Boys and Girls Club who were not as fortunate as the citizens of Greenville.

&uot;We’ll be seeing fundraisers taking place in the near future to raise money to help families just like that one,&uot; Luman said. &uot;The sad thing is there will be so many people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama with flood damage which won’t be covered on their homeowner’s insurance.&uot;

Even though most everyone stayed home Monday, the Greenville Sanitation Department was running its normal route.

&uot;We had only small limbs and debris down,&uot; Rusty Edwards, superintendent of the Greenville Sanitation Department, said. &uot;We were busy Monday tying garbage cans to poles and preparing for the worst.

We were very fortunate this time.&uot;

Edwards said that because of Hurricane Katrina preparations, the limb routes would begin Tuesday instead of Monday, so it will be running a little behind schedule.

Greenville and the Butler County area, overall, were spared large power outages.

According to Jan Ellis, spokeswoman for Alabama Power Company, only a handful of people reported losing power Monday.

&uot;All power has been restored to the area as of Tuesday,&uot; Ellis said. &uot;Unfortunately, that can’t be said for everyone across the state.&uot;

Ellis said that Hurricane Katrina was the second worst storm in Alabama Power’s history, with Ivan being number one.

&uot;Right now, there are approximately 530,609 people without power across the state, and most of those are in Mobile,&uot; she said. &uot;We also have many without power in Tuscaloosa and the western corner of Alabama since the storm moved up the state.

We’re still assessing the damage in Mobile, and, of course, that’s going to take some time.&uot;

Alabama Power reported that, as of Tuesday, 195,716 were without power in Mobile, 125, 731 in Tuscaloosa, and 173, 203 in Birmingham. However, Montgomery only reported 8,113 without power.

Pioneer Electric repaired multiple power outages caused by high winds and the heavy rain bands.

&uot;At one time Monday, we had 1,200 customers without power,&uot; Terry Wilhite, spokesman for Pioneer Electric, said. &uot;By 6 p.m. that evening, virtually all power was back on.&uot;

According to Wilhite, rain bands that came in at 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m caused additional outages.

&uot;Our crews worked all night on scattered outages,&uot; he said. &uot;By Tuesday, all service had been restored.&uot;

&uot;Furthermore, we’ll be sending two construction crews to Baldwin Electric Membership Cooperative near Gulf Shores. From there, they’ll go to Mississippi to help with the recovery effort,&uot; Wilhite said.