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Flights cancelled, 140,000 still without power as storms continue to roll through North Texas

Storm clouds appear gray, black and white and look like they're boiling in the sky.
Renee Dominguez
/
KUT
More rounds of thunderstorms will move into North Texas Thursday, Friday and over the weekend, potentially bringing damaging winds, hail and flooding, according to the National Weather Service.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport has delayed about half its departing flights and more than 140,000 people are without power as another wave of storms moves through North Texas Thursday.

The airport has also cancelled more than 170 flights. Fort Worth-based American Airlines delayed more than 1,000 flights across the country, and Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has delayed more than 700.

Meanwhile, Oncor Energy says it expects power for most people to return by end of day Friday — but some customers say they’ve gotten conflicting information.

Like hundreds of thousands of other North Texans, Melody Louis woke up to a power outage in her Mesquite home after severe thunderstorms and high-speed winds ripped through the region Tuesday morning.

Louis, 41, had been using Oncor’s automated text message system to get status updates on power restoration efforts. But she received some confusing messages.

Just before 7 a.m. Wednesday, Oncor sent a text saying it was aware of outages in her area and was working to repair them. The system let her know around 5:30 p.m. the provider was still working to restore power.

But close to 11 p.m., Louis received a message saying Oncor was not aware of an outage in her area and asked her to report it once again.

“That's a little frustrating because I'm like, ‘well, you are aware, because you've been telling me you're aware since I've been texting you Tuesday,’” Louis said.

Other North Texans said on social media they’d gotten similar confusing text messages from Oncor.

Louis received a message after midnight Thursday from Oncor confirming it was aware of her power outage once again. As of around noon Thursday, Oncor said over text it had restored power to Louis’ area. Louis was unable to immediately verify with KERA News that power was back on at her home.

Louis still had to throw away hundreds of dollars in food and resorted to using a makeshift grill out of a frying pan and some candles, and the heat was stifling in her home.

She said the lack of clear communication from Oncor was frustrating. Louis also wasn’t able to get answers through the automated system about why some of her neighbors saw power outages while others didn’t.

“Nobody wants to use an automated system with Oncor, not get a live person, think that the system is actually tracking, you know, your area, and then two days in be told, 'we don't have a report from you,’” she said. “Then that kind of leaves you in the dark and wondering if it's even on their radar.”

Grant Cruise, a spokesperson for Oncor, said the energy provider heard the concerns from customers like Louis. It’s still unclear what technical issues caused the conflicting messages, Cruise said, but as of Thursday morning, all Oncor customers should be getting messages appropriately acknowledging power outages.

“We understand that during a storm, there are many people that want to speak with a person, but we are also inundated with calls for that very reason,” he said. “So, we really advise people to use our digital tools and those digital channels to communicate with us.”

As for discrepancies in power outages, homes in a neighborhood can receive electricity from different circuits or sets of power lines, so storm damage may only affect a certain area, he said. If a tree falls, for example, that can damage some homeowners’ service lines and rip off a meter base or weatherhead for some homes and not others.

Oncor can’t currently provide estimated times of restoration for specific addresses or neighborhoods, Cruise said, but the majority of customers can expect Oncor to restore their power by Friday, or Saturday for worse damage.

According to the National Weather Service, more rounds of thunderstorms will move into North Texas Thursday and Friday, potentially bringing more damaging winds, hail and flooding. Cruise said it’s hard to predict the extent of damage storms may wreak, but it’s possible some upcoming weather patterns might be the straw to break the camel’s back for certain environmental damage.

“We might have gotten out and made repairs and, you know, some trees that were able to hold up during that previous storm might come down with the next round of weather,” he said. “So, it's really hard to say. We're going to keep working, as it's (safe) to do so around the clock.”

Cruise said it’s best to hold off on clearing fallen trees and other debris, especially near fallen power lines, until professionals have cleared any potential hazards out of the way.

Got a tip? Email Toluwani Osibamowo at tosibamowo@kera.org. You can follow Toluwani on X @tosibamowo.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Toluwani Osibamowo is a general assignments reporter for KERA. She previously worked as a news intern for Texas Tech Public Media and copy editor for Texas Tech University’s student newspaper, The Daily Toreador, before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She is originally from Plano.