Residents on the Kenai Peninsula are experiencing an unhappy start to winter weather. A powerful wind storm with gusts estimated at up to 60 miles an hour knocked out power to thousands of peninsula homes and businesses on Tuesday. Joe Gallagher is the public relations coordinator for the Homer Electric Association. He says the wind started blowing hard in the morning and outages started in the afternoon.
“And by Tuesday evening the wind intensified and by 6 pm, suddenly we were really seeing outages across the central peninsula. Talking about the Nikiski area, Kenai, Soldotna, Sterling and through Soldotna and down to Kasilof. At one point we had about 7000 homes and businesses without power on Tuesday evening,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher says the wind died down today and new outages have stopped but he says the clean up and restoration work is significant. He says there are about 100 separate outages with 4,000 homes without power Wednesday.
Gallagher says there was not any rain, icing or even much snow, but the wind knocked numerous trees down and took out power line poles.
“Broke the pole, broke the cross arms on the pole , broke the transformers on the pole. I took a ride down Holt/Lamplight, which is in Nikiski earlier this morning and there was just span after span after span of wire that is down, I saw two broken poles, a number of cross arms were damaged. This is just one road that I’m speaking about. So we have similar situations across the central peninsula that we’re going to have to deal with. So it’s going to be a very time consuming restoration effort,” Gallagher said.
Temperatures are in the 20s and 30s and Gallagher says Peninsula residents should prepare for an extended outage.