Island begins cleaning up damage from Hurricane Nicholas

The northbound lanes in the 2800 block of 61st Street in Galveston are closed for a leaning power pole Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. Winds from Hurricane Nicholas battered the island overnight Monday into Tuesday.

Early Wednesday morning, about 15,000 people and businesses still were without power because of Hurricane Nicholas. Schools closed and daily commerce was interrupted across Galveston County because of power outages. Some people who depend on power for life-sustaining equipment were without, while some of us were merely suffering the inconvenience of life without lights and climate-control comfort.

The Category 1 hurricane, packing 60-plus mph winds, was mercifully mild by most standards yet still made a mess of power lines and equipment across the county, begging the questions: When it comes to hardening electric infrastructure, can’t we do better? Can’t we move power lines out of the path of hurricanes?

 Laura Elder: 409-683-5248;


Recommended for you

(25) comments

Chris Tucker

Aside from the debate of overhead vs underground power lines is the dismal state of maintenance by the utility companies which result in electrical service being interrupted when there are clear skies much less during a tropical event. Evidence of the lack of planned maintenance is supported by the often seen leaning utility poles alongside our streets and roadways. In some cases these compromised utility poles have around since Hurricane Ike. Surely if if we as citizens can identify these poles as an obvious issue then the utility companies should be able to develop and implement a task force to address these weak links? The old adage "an ounce of prevention" comes to mind.

Harold DeVaney

Indeed. I’m still without power because of poorly maintained right of way with heavy overgrown lines and poles. This has been building up since Harvey.

Kent Muller

I remember years ago CenterPoint used to hire tree crews to come around every 5 years or so to trim trees near lines. I haven't seen this done in ages. A neighbors tree has been resting on power lines for at least 12 years now.

Mark Wyant

Thats ridiculous 30 million a mile? Under sidewalks? Uh huh. Sounds like a "grab some stimulus money from the dumb government and their unwitting taxpayers"plan.

Gary Miller

Mark> We think alike.

Allan Scott

I think the Texas PUC is completely unable or unwilling to regulate the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power in Texas. This is likely due to politics since all commissioners are appointed by the Governor. Obviously, the Texas Legislature is unwilling to take decisive action since they were in session when our electric supply fell apart in February and no meaningful changes were made to how the PUC or ERCOT operate.

Don Schlessinger

IMO[beam] We who live on and own property on or near beaches should know and be prepared to "weather" bad weather. Power lines do fall during large storms, not just here in Galveston but the rest of the world also. Power lines WILL fall. Pay attention folks, live here and be prepared or move to a safer city.

Bailey Jones


Gary Miller

Too many choose a poor place to live then want taxpayers to pay to improve it.

Ted Gillis

Mark, you poor soul, having Gary Miller identity you as being like minded.

Mason Schraufnagel

Invest in a generator and become a little less dependent.

Gary Scoggin

We are getting the reliability we are willing to pay for.

Bailey Jones


Carlos Ponce

Caveman #1: Look, I've invented FIRE!

Caveman #2: Where? I only see smoke.

Caveman #1: Darn that wind!

George Laiacona

We have to take into consideration that as far back as the 1930s Texas decided to go it alone and stay away from the National Grid. Then in e the 1980s decided not to use Nuclear Power. Then in the most recent past decided to go above ground with the newest transmission lines. Even today’s newest construction sites do not use underground electric utilities. I was fortunate enough to work on under ground electric utilities construction in Ft Lauderdale back in the 1970s. Until we approve the recent infrastructure plan now being worked out in Washington we will have to live with the antique electrical distribution system we have. The opportunity is here now to make some of the much needed updates. But as long as our legislators refuse to accept the fact that they must get together and agree on a solution, we are going to have to accept the fact that politics is the cog in the wheel of progress.

Ana Ortiz-Monasterio Draa


Robert Braeking

If we want the lower cost of overhead utilities, we need to accept a few facts:

1. If the wind blows trees will fall. Power lines are not made to support falling trees.

2. Power poles are very strong vertically. Laterally - not so much.

3. The power of the wind increases at the square of the velocity.

4. Steady wind is not as devastating as gusty wind.

What can each property owner do?

1. Remove trees that could threaten power lines.

2. Buy a generator. Mine is diesel. Ran 12 hours during this storm. Lightly loaded burned 2 gallons of diesel total. Next best thing is an inverter/generator.

3. Have your generator professionally installed. The last thing we need is for linemen to get zapped by badly installed generators.

Carlos Ponce

I heard from a former student who wanted to install a generator in his mother's home - 8 month waiting list. So be patient.

Robert Braeking

I bought all my equipment at Bay Electric. Manual Transfer Switch, Inlet box, Cord. No waiting. If you want fully automatic you will have to wait.

Bailey Jones


Jim Casey

I accept the fact that power will fail, and I have a generator.

However, people who don't live on a stand-alone house have nowhere to put a generator. You can't run one in an apartment or condo, and it would be difficult and messy even to keep one inside a residence.

Bailey Jones

Difficult, messy, and potentially lethal.

Robert Braeking

A condo association can get a big one for the whole complex.

Ted Gillis

Encouraging home owners to purchase whole house generators (those of us that can afford it), only encourages the utility companies to keep providing the status quo.

A status quo which is currently a bare minimum.

Bailey Jones

In a few more years this will be a moot point for many - affordable solar arrays and whole-house batteries will make the grid a secondary power source, not the primary.

Welcome to the discussion.

Real Names required. No pseudonyms or partial names allowed. Stand behind what you post.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.