For many in North Texas it is still night (possibly until Saturday)

The good news is that more than half of the 650,000 customers who were without power after Tuesday morning's hurricane-force winds now have power restored. The bad news is obvious: hundreds of thousands of people are still without power. The total number of Oncor customers affected now stands at 261,000, of which 179,000 live in Dallas County.

That includes the Erickson household, where things are starting to get a little dour. We're trying to keep things in perspective by reminding ourselves that all we have to do is throw out questionable perishables and sweat it out. Many others are coordinating with insurance adjusters, hiring tree trimmers, and tarping roofs.

On Wednesday morning, Oncor said crews were working 16-hour shifts to restore power and that nearly 5,000 additional workers from other states had been brought in. The utility expects most people to have power restored by Friday evening, but for some, a solution may not be available until Saturday.

On social media, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said there are 25 feeder lines that “need to be repaired before they can receive power from the substation.” Twenty of those 25 lines are in Dallas County, which likely explains the disparity with neighboring counties.

Yesterday's flooding, as well as fallen trees and other debris, have slowed progress. “In severely damaged areas, wide swaths of power lines and distribution facilities are not only being repaired but must be rebuilt,” Oncor said in a statement Wednesday morning. “In these areas, Oncor crews face complex repairs such as removing uprooted trees and debris and replacing damaged power poles and transformers before we can install new power lines.”

Dallas city officials gave a brief update last night and have scheduled another press conference for 1:30 p.m. The city has opened recreation centers where residents can find shelter and air conditioning. Fallen branches or trees in the roadway can be reported through 311, either online, through the app, or by phone. Downed power lines should be reported through 911.

In an email to the City Council on Wednesday, Travis Houston, director of the Dallas Office of Emergency Management, said Dallas has assigned a debris removal team to clear the streets ahead of Oncor's trucks. Those teams are dispatched by 311 personnel.

“The trash collection team is made up of 34 so-called 'saw teams' and Streets and Sanitation teams,” Houston said. “Using mapping tools, we can use the data from these 311 calls to identify where the teams should focus their efforts.”

Garbage and recycling collection will be postponed for one day. The city has also lifted the rules on early disposal of bulky waste. All residents are allowed to dispose of up to 15 cubic meters of rubble over the next 15 days.

Houston also announced that 182 traffic lights were out of service, 139 of which were flashing. Temporary stop signs were being installed at some intersections.

When the lights are flashing or off, the rules for an all-way stop apply: The vehicle that arrives first has the right of way, and then each vehicle passes through the intersection in the order it arrived. If it is not clear who came first, the driver (or drivers) on the left should yield the right of way to the driver on the right. The car on the far right has the right of way. If one car wants to turn and the other wants to go straight, the driver going straight has first. If one wants to turn left and the other wants to turn right, the vehicle on the right has the right of way.

The city's 1:30 p.m. update should provide more details, including how it plans to handle possible storms forecast for Wednesday night, Thursday and Friday. That press conference will include Houston, Interim City Manager Kimberly Bizor Tolbert and representatives from Dallas Fire-Rescue, Public Works, Sanitation, Transportation and Oncor.

We will update this post afterwards.


Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is senior digital editor for D Magazine. She has written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, sometimes all at once. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.

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