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Storm outage restoration efforts continue on Thursday

A line of severe storms caused heavy damage to the Clay Electric service area on Tuesday, February 7. Some winds were estimated at over 70 mph. Numerous trees were pushed over or broken, and trees and tree limbs caused as many as 35,000 accounts to lose power that evening.

Restoration of service efforts in the Orange Park District should be completed Thursday, said Orange Park District manager Andy Chaff. The Orange Park and Middleburg areas were two of the hardest hit areas when severe weather tore through North Florida Tuesday night. 

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Clay Electric had 604 accounts out of power in Clay County and 1,728 accounts still without service systemwide.

Five crews from Pike Electric, a contractor in Leesburg, Fla., joined Clay’s restoration efforts Wednesday night and continue to help with restoration efforts in the Orange Park District Thursday. Two crews from Beaches Energy in Jacksonville Beach also helped out in the Orange Park District Wednesday. Clay Electric crews from districts less impacted by the storm traveled to the Orange Park and Lake City districts to help with restoration, since damage was most extensive in those two areas. Chaff estimated that crews have changed out about 30 broken poles and 35 to 40 damaged transformers.

In the Lake City District, Line Superintendent Joe Tice said all accounts should have service restored by 6 or 7 p.m. Thursday.

“That’s what we’re shooting for,” Tice said. “We’ve got a lot of good crews helping us.”

Three crews from Sumter Electric Co-op, a crew from Musgrove (an electrical contractor), 75 personnel from Pike, and Clay Electric crews from central construction and the Gainesville District are helping repair damaged lines and equipment.

Tice said some of the worst storm-related damaged occurred in the Three Rivers Estates area, where numerous trees came down and broke an estimated 20 co-op poles. As many as 10 transformers were damaged by falling trees and limbs. Tice said areas around Lake Butler also were heavily impacted by the storm.

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday, the Lake City District had 480 accounts out of service.

Photo: storm damage in the Lake City District.