Power company crews rush to restore power to thousands of Alaskan homes
ANCHORAGE – Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. That was the plan of action for Mat-Su Valley power providers Friday.
“We’ve been watching the storm for a few days, tracking the high winds,” said Julie Estey, director of public relations for Matanuska Electric Association. “We had both our own crews and some contract crews on call and ready to respond. We were expecting some pretty significant outages.”
According to the National Weather Service, Chief Cove saw gusts at 77 mph, winds in Fort Peak reached 106 mph, Anchorage saw 50 mph winds and Black Cape saw 97 mph winds.
Whistling winds traveling at triple-digit speeds were too powerful for some trees that toppled onto power lines.
At one point MEA had 3,500 customers without power, Estey said, and that’s just in the Mat-Su Valley. A couple hundred miles south, Homer Electric Association reported nearly 1,400 members left in the dark. Thanks to planning and preparation, power companies reported the blackouts didn’t last long.
“Crews have been responding and restringing the lines, removing the trees and restoring power pretty quickly,” Estey said.
Although most power has been restored, meteorologists said the calm after the windstorm won’t be arriving just yet. Meteorologists expect a breezy weekend ahead.
Another thing high winds brought to Southcentral Alaska were wind chill factors in some places 20 degrees less than the posted temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.