After the storm: Power outages, debris and how to help others

A downed tree at Plano Municipal Center. Photo courtesy of the City of Plano.
With over 10,000 Planoites still without power and branches and trees galore, here's an update on the storm damage and how to help neighbors.

Though exact damage and injury counts from yesterday’s storm have not been tallied yet, many are speculating that the storm is the worst they’d seen in years — especially coupled with the deadly tornado this weekend in Cooke County that killed 7 people. As we try to recover and recuperate as a community, we’re checking in with City staff and Oncor for next steps:

What is currently being done

As of this morning, the City’s latest news release indicates that the priority is still clearing debris from roadways and restoring traffic signals. Crews are currently working on residential streets so that police and fire can respond quickly in an emergency, according to media relations director Steve Stoler. Parks staff will address damage and debris in our parks, trails and medians.

A downed tree at Plano Municipal Center. Photo courtesy of the City of Plano.

Oncor is still working to restore power to those who still do not have it. As the temperature and humidity rises, residents are encouraged to seek locations with power and air conditioning to stay cool. Plano’s library’s and rec centers are available to cool off during regular hours of operation, except Harrington Library, which does not have power. Those still without power can report a power outage to stormcenter.oncor.com

What Oncor says

“In less than 24 hours, we have restored power for more than 340,000 customers,” Oncor said on their website. “We greatly appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers and remain focused on doing all we can to restore the remaining outages as quickly and safely as possible. We estimate that restoration will be substantially complete by Friday evening, weather permitting. Harder hit areas are expected to be restored Saturday.”

Oncor is also asking individuals without power to examine their home electrical equipment, including the meter base and/or weatherhead (shown below), to ensure they have not been damaged or pulled off. Those that have will require an electrician to make repairs and a City inspection may be required before power can be safely restored. After those repairs are complete, residents can contact Oncor to request a reconnect.

Example of damaged meter base due to storm. Photo courtesy of TLC Electrical.

Debris and trees

If a tree is blocking a sidewalk, residents can submit a request to Fix-It Plano. However, the Public Works team received more than 1,5000 requests yesterday, according to the City of Plano, and the work order system will prioritize each response. Requests on Fix-It Plano only apply to sidewalks as City property; private property is residents’ responsibility, they said.

Debris collected from a property must be neatly stacked in piled no larger than 6 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet at collection points at least 2 feet from trees, fences, utility boxes, gas meters and vehicles and not between the fence and alleyway. Debris will be picked up in part of a two phase, city-wide sweep, the City of Plano announced. The first sweep will be completed in 2-4 weeks, with a second sweep following, the City said.

There are exceptionally long lines at the Custer Road Transfer station as of 3 p.m. on May 29, the City said. The station has daily capacity limits and will be closed once it reaches capacity.

Drone photos of the Custer Road Transfer Station. Photo courtesy of the City of Plano.

How we can help

1. Help clean up

Residents who would like to be put on an interest list to help with clean-up efforts can register at share.plano.gov/SpringStormCleanup.

2. Blood shortage

Due to the various storms and tornado in northern Denton County, dozens of people have been hospitalized, resulting in a shortage of blood. Carter BloodCare is encouraging anyone 17 or older (or 16 with parental consent) and who weighs 110 pounds or more to donate blood. Those with type O negative are most prominently needed, as O negative can treat any patient regardless of blood type.

The Carter BloodCare in Plano is located at 4701 W. Parker Road and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. most days.

3. Check in with your neighbors

Oncor reported that 10,025 Plano households are still without power as of 3 p.m. on May 29. 

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