Local News

Progress Energy, Triangle Red Cross send crews to Texas

Posted September 14, 2008 6:10 p.m. EDT

— Progress Energy crews are headed to Texas to help restore power in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Workers left Sunday morning from Raleigh.

They are part of a group of 822 employees from the Carolinas and Florida that will help out.

Ike weakened to a tropical depression early Sunday morning, but was still packing winds up to 35 mph as it dumped rain over Arkansas and traveled across Missouri. Tornado warning sirens sounded Saturday in parts of Arkansas, and the storm downed trees and knocked out power to thousands there.

More than 3 million were without power in Texas at the height of the storm, and it could be weeks before it is fully restored. Utilities made some progress by late Saturday, and lights returned to parts of Houston. In Louisiana, battered by both Ike and Labor Day's Hurricane Gustav, 180,000 homes and businesses were in the dark.

“So it's pretty devastating from a power standpoint. Our crews are prepared to be there for two weeks,” Progress Energy Inc. spokesman Mike Hughes said.

Progress Energy is part of a mutual assistance agreement among utility companies in the Southeast.

The Triangle Red Cross is also sending help to Texas. Sixteen volunteers from Wake County left Sunday to help victims from Hurricane Ike.

The group is part of the Red Cross' logistics, mass care and disaster health services division.