PERRY COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - What an ordeal it’s been for those impacted by Hurricane Zeta last week in west Alabama, especially in Perry County.
Beyond Perry County, Alabama Power says the severity of the damage in terms of outages is very similar to what we saw after Hurricane Katrina 15 years ago and the April 27 tornadoes nine years ago.
An army of linemen has invaded the Perry County area to get the electricity restored.
Lucille James has been sitting in the dark in her home for five days.
“Oh, I’ve been using my cellphone," said James.
The only light emanating is the one from her cellphone. Every morning she uses her car to charge it up.
“It was an inconvenience because it was cold out here but I made it," she said.
James, of course, is not alone. According to Alabama Power, Monday morning started with 1,200 still without power in Perry County.
James is convinced she’s lost everything in her fridge, totaling around $300 worth of food.
“I don’t know. Here, you can see," she said when she opened the refrigerator doors. It is stock full but ruined and beginning to smell.
Throughout the day that number of Alabama Power customers without power dwindled to around 900.
Power company leaders admitted this has been a major inconvenience for many but they are doing all they can to restore the juice. One hundred linemen are on the ground in the Perry County area.
“We do understand the hardship and inconvenience caused by any power outage but especially extended outages. Every customer should know we are working as quickly as possible and more line workers continue to flow into Perry County to help," said Alabama Power spokesman Mike Jordan.
Meantime, Matthew Wilson, pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Marion, is looking at the current situation as a catalyst. With limited resources in Perry County, the pastor wants to form a coalition to improve the community response.
“Yes, there will be another storm, yes, sir. I look forward to having a conversation with some pastors, some leaders here in the city to see what we can do to set up a disaster relief coalition of some sort," said Wilson.
Wilson was quick to point out he wasn’t blaming anyone for what he perceives to be a slow response to clearing fallen trees in roadways, for example. Wilson says resources are scarce in Perry County and perhaps a coalition of community leaders could help the community be better prepared next time.
Alabama Power says all of its customers will be back on line by Wednesday of this week.
No one is more eager to see the light than James.
Alabama Power says about 98% of its customers lost power during the height of Hurricane Zeta.