By Nathan Baker
Local officials say power outages caused by a line of heavy storms that moved through the area Wednesday stymied communications for emergency workers and left thousands without electricity.
Elizabethton Electric System General Manager Rob Toney said two transformers went down during the storm, knocking out power in Elizabethton and Watauga. On the west end of Carter County, downed trees shut down a breaker, taking out the lights for customers there.
“At the peak around 7:15, we had a total of about 9,500 customers without electricity,” Toney said Thursday morning. “By 11 p.m., we had about 98 percent restored, and by about 11:30, we had everyone back online.”
For approximately 45 minutes, all of the traffic signals at intersections on Elk Avenue were knocked out, leaving city police officers to direct traffic in the pouring rain.