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Quechan community affected by monsoon storm

Community members are worried if the storm coming this weekend will make matters worse

WINTERHAVEN, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - The Quechan community is recovering after Wednesday night's monsoon storm knocked down dozens of power lines, cutting power for many.

The Imperial County Fire Department (ICFD) said more than 60 power lines are down throughout the community and it may take up to a couple of days for electricity to be restored.

More than 850 customers were left without power, according to Salvador Flores, Imperial County Deputy Fire Chief.

"Currently right now at 10:30 in the morning, we're still reporting that there's about 400 customers," says Flores.

And as of 5 p.m. Thursday, only 30 customers are left without power, according to the Imperial Irrigation District (IID).

He says it's important to understand that a customer means a meter and not actual residents.

"So each property can have multiple residents or that customer could just be a pump for a lift station or a farm, so we don't know exactly the amount of people yet," says Flores.

Jordan Joaquin, Quechan Tribe President says shelters and cooling centers are provided by the tribe for residents who were affected.

"We were able to house the elders and some of the handicap in some of the hotel rooms and so we are still obtaining information and we're doing an assessment of the damage that has been done on the reservation," says Joaquin.

Deputy Chief Flores says the shelters had traffic with about 100 people going in and out.

The American Red Cross also assisted the tribe. One volunteer Eligio Rivas said a few of them stayed overnight.

"We turned their bingo hall into a shelter and so we were able to set up cots," says Rivas. "They had the blankets so they brought them in and we were able to stage everything ."

Joaquin says the cooling centers and shelters will be open until further notice.

According to Deputy Chief Flores, restoration may take up to one week because the IID needs more crew members on hand.

There's also a protocol that has to be followed for turning the power back on due to the significant damage.

"Each one of those poles has to be removed, cut apart," explains Flores. "Those lines need to be repaired or relayed and then the poles come back up and it has to be in sequence."

The tribal president says he's worried about potential severe weather this weekend and asks Quechan tribal members to take precautions.

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Vanessa Gongora

Vanessa Gongora joined the KYMA News 11 team in 2021.

You can contact her with story ideas at vanessa.gongora@kecytv.com

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