Hardest hit suburbs struggle with storm damage

By , Special to The Daily Memphian Updated: July 03, 2023 4:07 PM CT | Published: June 29, 2023 6:33 PM CT

Downed power lines, uprooted trees and snapped utility poles still blocked some roads in Bartlett on Thursday, as crews worked through the blazing heat to restore power following Sunday’s devastating storm.

With temperatures approaching and possibly topping 100 today and Friday, June 29, as of this morning there were still more than 21,500 MLGW customers without power across the Greater Memphis area.

MLGW expects current power outages to continue through the weekend

“All of this Ellendale area got hammered,” Bartlett resident Debbie Evans said. “So we’ve been sharing generators and running errands for one another. We went and bought some battery-operated fans for some people. It’s a pretty tight community around here.”

She credits Stewart Brothers Hardware Company on U.S. 70, who despite not having power at their business, have been open for cash-only purchases. Employees have used flashlights to stay open after dark.

A volunteer crew from Disaster Relief Tennessee has worked in Bartlett since Monday to help clear roads and cut up large trees.

On Thursday, using a Bobcat and chainsaws, the crews cleared Oak Road, which has been partially inaccessible since the storm. Broken and tangled power lines were scattered up and down the street, with at least one very large uprooted tree completely blocking the road.

“Right now we’re focusing on the critical stuff,” Mike Morris said. “We’re clearing things so the power line people can get in here and do their jobs. We’ve had people bringing us water and watermelon to help keep us hydrated and as cool as possible. They appreciate the work we’re doing.”

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His crew mate and Bartlett resident Danny Kizer said residents came outside cheering when they arrived there with chainsaws on Wednesday.

Bartlett resident Kenny Street, also part of the relief crew, still is without power at his house off Germantown Road.

“We’re doing the best we can. We’ve got a little generator keeping our refrigerator and freezer running. We’ve been hot, but it’s alright. There are people who have it a lot worse than we do,” said Street, who hopes to have his power restored by the weekend.

Additional relief teams have arrived from Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi to help.

With water bottles lined up on the rail of his front porch at 4014 Oak Road, 82-year old Troy Feltz watched the crew hard at work. To escape the heat, earlier this week he stayed in his mobile trailer just over the Mississippi state line.

Vegetation responsible for ‘vast majority’ of recent power problems

“We’ve got plenty of electricity down there,” he said. “It’s hot here inside the house, but I’m staying pretty cool right now.”

The city has opened cooling stations with water and cell phone charging availability at Bartlett Baptist Church at 3465 Kirby-Whitten Road and Faith Baptist Church at 3755 N. Germantown Road.

A couple of miles away, traffic lights remained out at U.S. 70 and Appling Road and U.S. 70 and Yale Road. Nearby businesses like Fat Larry’s BBQ and those at the Appling Ridge Commons strip center were also still shut down without power.

Multiple Standard Electric crews were out repairing power lines down along the highway in that area.

“Several downed trees are intertwined with power lines that must be removed from the roadway before MLGW crews can restore service to these affected areas,” said Bartlett Mayor David Parsons in a statement released Thursday. He cited more than 10 roads and intersections with considerable damage. “Once these power lines are removed from the roadway, MLGW will be able to provide a more accurate update on when power can be restored to our citizens who are still struggling in the aftermath of the storm.”

MLGW lifts precautionary boil water advisory

Further east on U.S. 70 into Lakeland, the new Lakeland Town Center’s residents and businesses were among those also still without power on Thursday.

Lakeland Mayor Josh Roman declared a state of emergency in the city on Wednesday.

“Sunday’s storm caused significant damage throughout our community,” he said. “Many of our residents and community facilities are still without power and feeling the impact. Lakeland’s staff is working tirelessly to clear the debris and assist our residents.”

He hopes state or federal funding will help with the substantial clean-up costs.


Bartlett Lakeland storms power outages Mayor David Parsons Mayor Josh Roman

Michael Waddell

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian with more than 20 years of professional writing and editorial experience, working most recently with The Daily News and High Ground News.


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