Snow causes Valley power outage

Posted: Monday, January 27, 2003

JUNEAU - The Mendenhall Valley lost power for about an hour early this morning when heavy snow caused power lines to snap together, officials said today.

Homes and businesses from the Fred Meyer store to past Auke Bay lost power around 6:15 a.m., said David Stone, vice president of public affairs for Alaska Electric Light and Power. Stone did not have an immediate estimate of how many people were affected.

Over the weekend, heavy, wet snow collected on a power line near Swampy Acres, he said. The snow eventually fell, causing the line to bounce up and touch another line, making a spark and a surge in power, Stone said. The company turned off the power supply to the Valley and Auke Bay and checked for damage to the equipment. Detecting none, power was restored around 7:03 a.m., Stone said.

The National Weather Service reported 9.8 inches of snow falling since midnight Thursday, with 6.5 inches of the total falling Sunday. Another 3 inches was expected to fall today.

Stone said it is unusual for snow to accumulate on the lines. In fact, he said, he can't remember it happening before today. He said wind usually helps keep the lines free, but there was little wind in the affected area over the weekend.

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