More than 500,000 customers were without power Tuesday morning as Tropical Storm Nicholas swept across the central and east Texas coast, according to poweroutage.us, a site that aggregates power outage data from utility companies.
More than 400,000 customers in the Houston region were without power as of 7 a.m., according to CenterPoint Energy.
Crews have begun to assess the damage from the storm and restore electricity to vital infrastructure such as hospitals and water treatment facilities, according to a CenterPoint energy statement issued Tuesday morning. After restoring power to facilities important to public safety, repairs will be prioritized to return power to the largest number of customers at a time, until power is returned to everyone.
Utilities warned customers to stay away from downed power lines.
“Patience will be important as some areas of our system and equipment may be difficult to reach for our crews due to safety-related issues, such as downed trees,” Kenny Mercado, executive vice president of electric utility at CenterPoint Energy, said in a statement.
Matagorda County had the highest percentage of outages, with about 88% of customers without power Tuesday morning, or about 18,000 customers — down from more than 99% before dawn. Wharton, Brazoria, Austin and Chambers counties all experienced widespread outages — between 72% and 86% of customers in those counties were without power Tuesday morning.
AEP Texas, the utility provider for much of the Texas Coastal Bend region including Matagorda County, wrote in a tweet that once it is safe to work outside, crews will begin to restore power to customers, prioritizing essential infrastructure first, and then the greatest number of customers. — Erin Douglas