Gusty winds fuel brush, grass fires

Wind wreaks havoc across Alamo City, blamed for power outages, brush fires

Author: Matt Rivers, Video Journalist, mrivers@ksat.com
Published On: Feb 25 2013 05:51:31 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 26 2013 04:47:28 AM CST
SAN ANTONIO -

Wind gusts topping 50 mph caused several power outages, made brush fires worse, and kept utility repair crews very busy Monday.

Wind caused damage to power lines near the Alamo Ranch shopping center, knocking out power for dozens of stores.

“We’ve had to send home our employees and cancel all of our appointments for the day,” said Joann Gawlik, a hairstylist at a salon in Alamo Ranch.

Popular restaurants like BJ’s had to hand-write all of their customers’ checks and cut their meals short after the power went out.

“Everyone pretty much stayed calm,” said Bridget McWhorter, who was eating inside the restaurant. “Even the cooks walked out of the kitchen asking what was going on.”

The winds made firefighting efforts a challenge at several brush fires around town as well.

A fire along Highway 90 near General Hudnell produced thick white smoke that reduced visibility on the road nearby to close to zero.

Firefighters struggled to stay ahead of the flames as embers were tossed up into the air by strong wind gusts.

Other brush fires and several house fires were also reported around the city.

Downed power lines also posed a problem, forcing CPS to drive all over the county to make repairs. Dozens of electrical calls have been reported on the San Antonio Fire Department’s active incident website.

CPS Energy officials reminded customers to leave any downed lines for their crews to clean up, including those on customer property.

“We see a lot of people try and remove the wires from their cars, if a line falls on them, but the truth is, that customer isn’t completely sure if the line is still active,” said Yvonne Casanova, a spokeswoman for CPS Energy.

Customers with any power issues can call 210-353-4357 to report them to CPS Energy.