EL CENTRO — Over $3 million and counting in damages resulted from the rainstorms occurring July 31 and August 3, according to the Imperial County Fire Department. Tony Rouhotas Jr., Imperial County Fire Chief and Office of Emergency Services Coordinator, noted that roughly 35 major power poles near Seeley were damaged in the storms. In response, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors declared a local emergency for the affected areas, allowing aid from the state of California to be accessed.
The County and Imperial Irrigation District have worked to ensure power was restored to the affected residents, but have closed several portions of county roads to make repairs to damaged transmission lines. Repairs on Drew Road are still in progress and the road is expected to reopen Friday August 11.
The first of the storms on July 31 hits south of Brawley and resulted in some infrastructure damage to IID’s power system, according to Rouhotas.
“The equivalency of all that cost approximate to date is over $3 million, with tabulations to be counted,” said Rouhotas.
“The reason for the County proclaiming a local emergency is that, as the operational area, we’d be supporting the special district of IID and moving us forward in any reimbursements that they would claim or any other aid they would claim from the state of California,” said Rouhotas.
Jose Contreras, IID Services Coordinator, said that the repair work near Seeley was on schedule to be finished by the end of the week. The damaged poles were the larger transmission lines, not the smaller poles, and their replacement would be more costly and involved. Salvaging the poles would not be attempted.
“The priority is just replacing the current poles,” said Rouhotas.