Last night Anchorage residents experienced extremely high winds resulting in tree loss and structural damage to homes, but the distribution was erratic. Andy Dickson is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Anchorage. He says wind measurement equipment along Turnagain Arm and Glen Alps failed shortly after 6:00 p.m. Tuesday evening but there were dramatic citizen accounts mixed in with the official record.
“We have received unofficial reports as high as upwards of 130 miles per hour on the hillside, but I would stress that those are unofficial at this time. We are attempting to confirm those, but we have not yet. In terms of official observations, the highest we recorded was 88 miles per hour along McHugh Creek, and that was 5:50 p.m. Similarly, 75 miles per hour near Potter Marsh,” Dickson said.
Dickson says the highest gust in the city itself was 63 miles per hour recorded at the port shortly after 10:00 p.m.
“Widespread 40 to 50 mile per hour winds everywhere from the western Aleutians through the eastern Aleutians, southwest mainland and much of southcentral, including Anchorage, but Anchorage in terms of impacts and unusual winds, the winds that we experienced here last night in Anchorage were definitely the most notable and newsworthy,” Dickson said.
Dickson says there’s been nearly half an inch of rain so far, but there are no flooding concerns. He says the high wind warnings were only issued for Anchorage, Turnagain Arm and Portage Valley, but winds affected the entire Aleutian chain and parts of Southwest Alaska.
As of this evening thousands of people in Anchorage are still without power.
Anchorage Municipal Light and Power is working to restore service to their customers but the company does not have the ability to track how many residents are affected or where the outages are.
The Matanuska Electric Association says 3,000of its customers don’t have power.
Chugach Electric reports that about 5,000 customers are still without power in their service area, which is mostly on the Hillside.
All the power companies are asking customers to call and report their outage if it hasn’t been taken care of yet, and they all say crews will work throughout the night to restore power.
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