High Winds knock out Power to 10k+ Customers in Region; Organizers Cancel Scenic Drive Luminarias

The front that the National Weather Service warned El Paso residents swept into the region overnight, bringing dust, high winds and power outages for thousands of residents Saturday.

While most of the nation continues to suffer with Arctic-like cold, Borderland residents suffered though weather that was better suited for March than December. The El Paso Fire Department warned residents of the dangerous conditions throughout the city, with the blowing dust and downed trees and power lines.

According to El Paso Electric, the continuing high winds and the sheer number of outages were hampering crews’ ability to restore power to customers.  Via their twitter feed, El Paso Electric let customers know that their crews were attempting to restore power, but could give no estimated time as to the restoration of power.

Officials added that crews would “work non-stop until power was restored to all customers.”

Looking West, toward Franklin Mountains from Spur 601 | Clip courtesy TxDoT
Looking West, toward Franklin Mountains from Spur 601 | Clip courtesy TxDoT

Those customers span the entire region, from Hatch in the North, to a large swath of customers in Northeast El Paso, and an outage that has most of the town of Fabens with no power.

Due to the high winds, officials with La Fe were forced to cancel the annual lighting of the Luminarias on Scenic Drive.  Officials said that the donations of canned goods or non-perishable foods would continue all week at the La Fe Culture and and Technology Center, located at 721 South Ochoa.

To check the status of the outages, El Paso Electric has a website that shows the number of customers without power and the time the outage was reported.

Meanwhile, just north of El Paso in Ruidoso and Cloudcroft, the powerful storm brought flurries to the mountains, but no significant accumulation was reported as of midday Saturday.

High winds also forced city officials to close the landfill, located in Far-East El Paso, at the Clint exit.

Due to strong winds and low visibility the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department (ESD) has closed the Greater El Paso Landfill located on 2300 Darrington Road. The landfill was closed to ensure the safety of ESD customers and employees.

The landfill will resume normal operating hours on Monday, December 19, weather permitting. Normal operating hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.