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Recovery making progress after Zeta

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Zeta, downed trees and lack of power created a problem for many Chilton County residents.

Residents have now had power restored and are receiving assistance with recovering.

The Chilton Baptist Association has received 80 requests for assistance, and teams started assessing damage and getting to work mid-morning the day after the storm.

CBA disaster relief director Joe Mims said three Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief teams, two from Chilton County and one from Autauga County, have completed 30 of the requests so far.

Local disaster relief teams only needed a few hours to prepare before they were ready to get to work.

“We try to keep our equipment ready to go,” Mims said.

He said when the teams respond to disasters further away it takes about a day to prepare.

Requests are categorized by the urgency of the need. Mims said trees that were on houses were a top priority, followed by tree in the yards of people who could not remove themselves because of age.

Mims estimated the teams would complete 65 of the requests with 15 of the initial requests having already been taken care of by the homeowners or friends.

The person in charge of the operation groups projects together geographically so a team stays in the same neighborhood for a day. A project schedule is compiled based on what the organizer thinks the team can complete in a day.

Mims said the majority of critical projects would likely be complete by Nov. 7. However, the teams will continue to address the other requests it has received.

Many were without power for several days as Alabama Power and Central Alabama Electric Cooperative crews worked to repair broken lines and utility poles.

Alabama Power completed its restoration efforts on Nov. 4. According to a press release, “Statewide, over 6,000 line workers from 24 states and Canada” assisted with Alabama Power’s restoration efforts.

“Hurricane Zeta produced impacts similar to those of Hurricane Katrina and the April 27 tornadoes,” Mike Jordan of Alabama Power said. “In only a four county area of west central Alabama, there were over 300 broken poles and over 1,000 fallen spans of wire.”

CAEC announced on Nov. 6 that restoration efforts had been completed the previous evening.

“This was a monumental effort by our employees and those who came to our aid,” said CAEC President and CEO Tom Stackhouse. “The level of destruction Zeta brought to our membership is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced in our 80-year history, but in true fashion, our employees worked tirelessly to overcome the odds. We are so thankful for the kind words, acts and prayers of our members, and I feel I can speak for every employee when I say that we truly work for the best members. We are even stronger together after an event of this magnitude.”