Alabama Power expects 98 percent of outages will be restored Thursday night

Alabama Power expects 98 percent of outages will be restored Thursday night
Alabama Power crews have been working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to areas affected by tornadoes and storms on March 19. (Christopher Jones / Alabama NewsCenter)

Power is expected to be restored by 8 p.m. Thursday to 98 percent of all Alabama Power customers who can receive it after tornadoes and high winds caused major damages statewide on March 19, the company said.

The remaining customers without power are in the hardest-hit areas of Jacksonville, which was struck by an EF3 tornado packing 140-mph winds. Crews are working around the clock to end those outages as safely and quickly as possible.

UPDATE: Alabama Power said all customers able to receive power now have it in the affected areas.

More than 24,500 customers were without power at the height of the storms late Monday night, but the number had been reduced to about 500 Thursday morning.

Alabama Power Technology Support Supervisor Wesley Higgins said Customer Services fielded about 50,000 inquiries stemming from outages March 19-21. There were 33,074 overflow calls, 10,604 calls answered by automated voice response and 5,310 calls taken by employees. The online customer care team answered 49 Facebook contacts, 42 Twitter posts and 51 emails stemming from outages during the same period.

Volunteers are asked to wait until Friday, March 23 to assist in Jacksonville but Jacksonville State University is closed to the public until Monday, April 2. Volunteers should check in at the Jacksonville Community Center but may register ahead of time by calling 256-435-8115 or donate at Donations of gift cards, toiletries and supplies should be sent to the First United Methodist Church Family Life Center (256-435-6021), city officials said.

In a tweet, the City of Jacksonville said donations needed include pre-packaged snacks, flashlights, batteries, safety glasses, work gloves, tarps and trash bags.

JSU President John Beehler said it was “very fortunate” there was no loss of life during the tornado that tracked through the heart of the campus Monday night, leaving most buildings with roof damage. Dorms and nearby student apartments had extensive damages.

“While this has been a devastating event for our campus, we’re extremely thankful we were on spring break and that our students and faculty and staff were not on campus during this event because there could have been loss of life and a lot of injuries,” said Beehler, who became president in 2015.

JSU Director of Facilities and Planning David Thompson said recovery efforts have been “amazing.” He thanked Alabama Power for its efforts in getting the lights back on.

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