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Supervisor Benoit, county staff respond to Mecca/Thermal area after storm knocks out power

Supervisor Benoit, county staff respond to Mecca/Thermal area after storm knocks out power

Author: SuperUser Account/Friday, August 7, 2015/Categories: Uncategorized, Living, Government

About 170 customers remained without power Friday after a fast-moving storm the night before knocked down more than 100 utilities poles and initially cut power to 1,300 or more customers.  Crews continue to work to restore the power to the remaining impacted residents, but it may take several days to fully re-establish power because of the damage, county officials said. The downed poles including a number of high-voltage metal poles that were bent over by high winds.

Supervisor John J. Benoit visited the command post at Desert Mirage High School, toured the affected areas and met Friday with representatives of the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), which supplies power to the area.

“The devastation from these powerful winds was significant but I’m glad to report that IID is responding swiftly to help these communities,” Benoit said. “County staff are working closely with the Red Cross and others to make sure residents have shelter from the heat and places to stay overnight until power poles can be replaced and service restored.”

County of Riverside staff responded, with the Emergency Management Department coordinating efforts to provide services to the affected community. Desert Mirage High School was set up as an evacuation site and Riverside County public health officials were prepared to provide nurses in the event emergency shelters were needed to house affected residents. Other options for temporary housing were being assessed by the Riverside County Economic Development Agency.

"We started working to assess the situation immediately and began efforts to provide services to the impacted community," said Kim Saruwatari, the county’s Emergency Management Department Director. "With temperatures over 100 degrees, setting up an evacuation site as a place for residents to cool off and get water was our top priority. As residents arrive we are assessing their needs to determine what help we can offer."

Residents of the Torres Martinez Reservation were among those who suffered damage and the tribe is providing assistance to its members. For more information, go to rvcfire.org.

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