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Utility Crews Working To Restore Electric Service To Rural Delaware County

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Picture of the Delaware County tornado taken by Tom Pearce. Picture of the Delaware County tornado taken by Tom Pearce.

Staff and Wire Reports

GROVE, Oklahoma -- Severe weather hit portions of eastern Oklahoma late Sunday, damaging a number of structures in Delaware County..

There were no reports of injuries in the storms.

Michelann Ooten of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said damage was reported at Grove, at Zena and at Bernice in Delaware County before the storm, possibly a tornado, moved into Arkansas and Missouri. Power was out in many areas.

Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative says its crews have worked since Sunday evening to restore service to members impacted by storms.

Approximately 1,000 members remain without power as of 7:30 a.m. Monday. Upwards of 40 poles are estimated to have been broken during the storms.

Cooperative crews continue to work amid extensive damage.

"One of our biggest challenges is finding a way to remove trees from the roadways," said Rick Shurtz, NEOEC's Manager of Operations. "We've got to clear a path before we can get into some of these areas to assess the damage to our electrical facilities."

Areas hardest hit include main feeder lines east out of the Cleora substation, the main feeder lines south out of the Grove substation and Zena.

Travel in the Zena area has been made especially difficult by blown debris and fallen trees.

Cooperative officials continue to urge caution around down powerlines.

"Please keep a safe distance if you encounter a downed powerline," said Shurtz. "Always treat downed lines as if they are energized and report them as soon as possible."

Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative members can call 1-800-256-6405 to report an outage. For the latest updates on restoration progress, visit online at http://outage.neelectric.com.

5/22/2011 Related Story: Tornado Causes Damage Near Grove, Cleora

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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