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Snow causes downed trees, outages across town

AEL&P crews worked for 11 hours to restore power; winter storm warning through today

Posted: December 11, 2013 - 2:26pm  |  Updated: December 12, 2013 - 1:11am
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Beatrice Franklin digs out her car in front of her property just north of Tee Harbor on Wednesday.  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Beatrice Franklin digs out her car in front of her property just north of Tee Harbor on Wednesday.

About 600 customers from the Mendenhall Valley northward were affected by 10 different power outages Wednesday.

Alaska Electric Light and Power Co. spokeswoman Debbie Driscoll said customers past Cohen Drive were without power for about 11 hours. AEL&P began responding to customer calls at 5 a.m., she said.

AEL&P crews first responded to an outage on Point Lena Loop Road. A downed tree had caused one of the area’s feeders to open, breaking the flow of electricity and cutting off power, a little after 5 a.m, according to Driscoll.

“At that point we started to get calls about other outages,” she said.

Snow-laden trees had fallen on power lines along several roads, causing the outages, Driscoll said. Crews responded to an outage on Mendenhall Peninsula Road. Next was a call about downed trees on Lee Drive.
“Then we had a call that there were trees and sparks at Peterson Creek; we had a call about Montana Creek Road,” Driscoll said. “We were getting calls from all over town but mainly from the Valley north.”

AEL&P worked Wednesday with other companies in town, including Chatham Electric Inc., to get everyone’s power working as quickly as possible, she said, resulting in an 11-hour day for AEL&P crews. Workers had to clear many trees from power lines all along Glacier Highway before electricity could be switched back on. All power was restored by 4 p.m.

“We had multiple locations of trees in the line along Glacier Highway,” Driscoll said. “Numerous trees had to be cut back.”

Juneau is currently under a winter storm warning through Thursday afternoon, per the National Weather Service. As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Juneau International Airport had received 4.7 inches of snow, according to the service. Auke Bay had received 7.7 inches; Annex Creek had received 17; Outer Point had received 9.

Juneau was expected to get 5 to 10 more inches of snow Wednesday night and 4 to 8 inches Thursday, forecaster Bob Tschantz said.

Because more snow is expected, AEL&P is encouraging its customers to call immediately if they experience an outage at home, Driscoll said. The after-hours number for the company is 586-9765. She also encouraged residents to make sure they have flashlights, blankets and water on hand, just in case an outage occurs.

“In this type of weather, with the snow on the trees, there will be small little outages,” she said Wednesday. “We would not be surprised if we have additional outages this evening.”

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.

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