tree storm

A fallen tree in Tangipahoa Parish from Tropical Depression Olga.

A single falling tree in Hammond set back Entergy’s effort to restore power to the thousands of customers whose lines went out during the unexpectedly strong gusts of post-Tropical Storm Olga this past weekend.

The storm, which blew through the area early Saturday with wind gusts of 60 mph or more, had left more than 16,000 without power in Tangipahoa Parish, and still 5,500 customers without power as of Monday morning.

Entergy spokeswoman Lee Sabatini said crews were able to restore power to all but about 1,700 customers by Monday night, but a tree fell in Hammond early Tuesday morning taking down power lines and leaving an additional 2,000 customers — some of whom had already had power restored — without electricity.

It’s hard to determine whether that tree falling was related to damage from Olga, Sabatini said.

Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller said the area most heavily impacted from the falling tree was around Vineyard Road behind the Hammond Northshore Regional Airport, and some of those residents are understandably frustrated at being without power again. 

"I think (Olga) was probably twice as strong as the forecast that was given to us," he said.

Sabatini said restoration should be completed Tuesday, but clearing debris from the large fallen tree may take longer, so there isn’t yet a time estimate for that work.

She said debris crews have been clearing roadways across southeast Louisiana since Saturday. She said where crews would usually find tree limbs and branches scattering roadways, Olga left entire trees snapped in half.

“I think this storm was underestimated from all the weather forecasters,” Sabatini said Tuesday.

National Weather Service Slidell meteorologist Gavin Phillips said Tangipahoa Parish may see some rainfall through the week, but it’s likely to total less than 2 inches. He said there’s a marginal risk of severe weather hitting the area Wednesday.

Email Emma Kennedy at ekennedy@theadvocate.com.