Southcentral Braces for Big Storm

Graphic from the National Weather Service

The National Weather Service says wind gusts could reach 80 to 100 miles per hour tonight at higher elevations around Anchorage, and 60 miles per hour in town. Power companies are bracing for outages and emergency management officials are asking people to be prepared.

With winds predicted to reach upwards of 80 miles per hour in parts of Anchorage tonight, the power companies are preparing for a busy night. Sarah Wiggers is the Communications Coordinator for Chugach Electric. She says power outages are expected and Chugach has crews on hand to handle downed trees and lines.

“There’s not a whole lot we can do in preparation of a storm. We always like to tell our customers you know if you see a downed power line, don’t go near it, don’t touch it, don’t do any of that, just call us immediately,” Wiggers said.

Anchorage Municipal Light & Power representatives say they also have crews in place to respond to downed lines. The strongest winds are expected to develop along Turnagain Arm and the higher elevations of the Anchorage Hillside, the Eagle River Valley and parts of East Anchorage tonight. With the ground still unfrozen and leaves still on the trees, officials worry the storm could take down trees. Jeremy Zidek is a with the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He says his office is not issuing an official advisory, but they are asking residents to secure outdoor equipment and pick up loose debris before the storm hits. Zidek also says it’s a great opportunity to put an emergency kit and plan together.

“The kit has basic supplies like food, water, a flashlight, a first aid kit. The plan is a communication plan so families can communicate if an event happens, everyone knows who to call, where to go,” Zidek said.

High profile vehicles traveling along Turnagain Arm are also being asked to use extreme caution.

The High Wind Warning runs until 5:00 a.m. Wednesday.

See below for storm-preparedness links and contact information:

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Daysha Eaton, KMXT - Kodiak
Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.