SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Rows of lengthy, thick wooden transmission poles and downed power lines sprawled across Padre Boulevard will continue to reroute motorists and pedestrians from their destinations this week.
A storm that struck the Laguna Madre Area Sunday night into Monday morning resulted in 31 damaged or downed power lines that left thousands without electricity.
According to a press release from the City of South Padre Island, Padre Boulevard will not be open to traffic or pedestrians Tuesday.
City officials ask that all vehicles and pedestrians stay off Padre Boulevard because the downed power lines are live.
Motorists and pedestrians are asked to continue using Laguna and Gulf Boulevard through Wednesday to reach their desired destinations.
The South Padre Island Police Department, Cameron County and other city departments will continue working together this week to manage personnel, traffic control barrels and cones that will be placed in areas to enhance the flow of traffic.
According to the press release, Padre Boulevard should be completely open by Saturday.
Close to 65 percent of the Island’s power was restored by AEP Texas following the storm.
According to a press release from the energy company, crews had reduced the number of Island consumers without power from 11,300 to 4,300 by 6:30 p.m. Monday.
AEP also reported most customers would have power restored by 9 p.m. Monday, with crews continuing their work Tuesday morning.
Repair and/or replacement of the transmission structures is expected to continue through Friday.
Continuing business as usual
The power outage didn’t seem to faze Island Market owners Sufian and Angie Hash Monday morning as they served steaming cups of coffee and snacks to residents and tourists.
“Last night I started noticing that the weather was getting very bad,” Sufian said. “As a business owner, I was wondering if we were going to lose our stuff, but we have a generator running in our RV and the customers are happy that we’re open.”
Angie could be seen going back and forth from her business to her RV as eager customers arrived in search for piping hot cups of joe.
“Everybody on the Island knows that no matter what, even when there’s bad weather or power shortages, we always open our store,” Angie said. “Anytime things happen, we’re always here.”
The business owners said they opened their shop at 5:45 a.m. and served nearly 200 customers by 10 a.m.
Island resident Christiana Dijkman was one of several visitors of the store yesterday morning.
From loud claps of thunder to sounds of the wind howling and tree branching, Dijkman described the storm as being very intense.
“I can’t believe we had that much force of wind,” Dijkman said. “It’s not like this was a huge disaster, nobody was hurt from what I understand. It’s still a big inconvenience, but we pull together.”
What caused the damage?
According to representatives from the National Weather Service, a tropical system on the western coast of Mexico came across the area overnight and generated the strong to severe thunderstorms mainly over Cameron County.
Josh Schroeder, a National Weather Service Science and Operations Officer, said the damage made on the Island was the result of straight-line winds, which are strong winds produced by a thunderstorm that don’t have any kind of spin or rotation.
“We recorded wind gusts up to 64 miles per hour at the ship channel near the Island.” Schroeder said. “So in comparing that with the radar data, it looks most likely that the damage was due to straight-line winds and not a tornado.”
According to Schroeder, a strong cold front with possible showers and thunderstorms might come through the Valley Thursday night into Friday with temperatures in the 60s.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
– South Padre Island City Officials urge motorists and pedestrians to avoid Padre Boulevard due to downed transmission poles and live wires caused by Sunday night’s storm.
– Motorists and pedestrians are asked to continue using Laguna and Gulf Boulevard to reach their desired destination.
– As of Monday afternoon, close to 65 percent of the Island’s power was restored.
– Visit https://tinyurl.com/y5hqftzn, to check the latest information on AEP power outages.
– Visit www.myspi.org for updates from the City of South Padre Island.