Thousands of Anchorage Residents Without Power

Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage

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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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori