2020 was a hard year all the way to the very end.

As if school closures, canceled sporting events, store closures, escalating unemployment and other maladies associated with the COVID-19 pandemic weren’t enough, 2020 was capped off by a strong winter storm. The blue norther interrupted electric service and plunged all of Eldorado and much of Schleicher County into darkness.

Cold rain, accompanied by a strong north wind, turned to an icy storm in the early morning hours of Thursday, December 31st. By dawn, a layer of ice coated everything, but especially trees and power lines.

Sleet turned to snow with reports four to six inches of snowfall measured in and around Eldorado, and as much as 10 inches farther west.

Strong winds, coupled with the heavy coating of ice snapped tree limbs and brought down power lines across the area.

Here in Eldorado, power went out by later afternoon Thursday, December 31st as the temperature dipped into the lower 20s. Others in the area, including those served by Southwest Texas Electric Cooperative (SWTEC), were also dealing with power outages that lingered into the new year.

Electric crews from AEP and Southwest Texas Electric Cooperative were called into action.

Locally, Schleicher County Medical Center, Schleicher County Nursing Home and the Sheriff’s Department were operating on their backup generators.

To make matters worse, AT&T customers lost cellular phone service in and around Eldorado and VGI customers lost their internet connectivity.

Fortunately, most of Frontier’s phone customers did not lose service

SWTEC reports losing 50 poles and more than 70 crossarms due to ice damage. At the height of the outage, as many as 3,000 SWTEC meters in Schleicher, Menard and Sutton Counties were affected.

Power was restored to much of Eldorado by late evening on New Year’s Eve. However, AEP notified customers who had phone or internet service that they were shutting down the substation on E. Hill Street that serves Eldorado and supplies power to SWTEC.

Fortunately, power was restored earlier than anticipated and Eldorado residents began the process of clearing broken limbs.

The power outage continued a bit longer, however, for some of SWTEC’s more remote customers.