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Morning storm knocks out power to more than 600 homes

A thunderstorm that hit the Austin area early Friday took out power to an estimated 600 to 800 homes, but service has been restored to most areas.

Crews with Austin Utilities took to the streets early in the morning, clearing branches that had become tangled on power lines. A representative with the utilities company said southwest Austin was the hardest hit area, where a large branch hit a power line.

Some Mapleview homes also lost power. As of 10:30 a.m., three residences in that area were still without service, the representative said.

Other property owners were affected as well, as the outages were scattered throughout Austin. High-wind gusts knocked down a cottonwood tree Friday morning at the home of Nick Johnson, 1212 Fourth Avenue NE. The cottonwood knocked down a power line, causing an outage of about three to four hours. Johnson said the tree was rotting and was going to be cut down soon anyway.

Steve Tiegs, a lineman with Austin Utilities, said there have been few outages caused by storms since the tornado that knocked out power in Austin on June 17, 2009. He said the tornado exposed many of the weak points in the system.

“This was kind of a surprising one,” Tiegs said. “It came up quick.”