This photo shared under a Creative Commons license shows Wrangell. About 100 homes were without power on Wednesday with the outage expected to extend into Thursday. Power was knocked out by high winds on Tuesday afternoon. (Courtesy Photo / Wikimedia)

High winds knock out power in ‘about 100’ homes in Wrangell

Multiple downed trees knocked out high-voltage lines.

A power outage in Wrangell caused by strong winds on Tuesday afternoon will extend into at least Thursday, said a Wrangell city official.

Acting borough manager Kim Lane said winds estimated at around 70 mph toppled multiple trees on high-voltage lines, knocking out power to parts of the city. The outage also briefly affected Petersburg, which receives power from Wrangell.

“We’re not anticipating power will be restored to the southern side of the island which is about 100 homes until Thursday,” Lane said in a phone interview. “No one was injured. We’re really glad, it looked really bad.”

Crews from the city, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, and the Southeast Alaska Power Agency, among others, labored to clear roads, trees, and downed lines, Lane said.

“SEAPA is currently coordinating with the Wrangell line crew, Wrangell Public Works, State Department of Transportation, and SEAPA’s contractor, Electric Power Constructors, who have arrived in Wrangell for restoration activities,” said SEAPA CEO Trey Acteson in a statement. “SEAPA is also coordinating with (Alaska Power and Telephone Company) and (General Communications Inc.) to remove their communications attachments from the damaged poles. The crews will be working late into the night to safely restore power as soon as possible, however, repairs may not be finished until tomorrow.”

The city has opened up public facilities as a shelter for the duration of the outage, according to City and Borough of Wrangell social media. Those in need of space should call 907-305-0764, according to the post.

The swimming pool is also being offered as a shower facility, and Arrowhead Transfer/Alaska Marine Lines have offered refrigeration and freezer vans for people affected by the outage. Those with questions should call 907-874-3314.

Lane urged those in town to stay home if possible. Emergency service contacts are up and running; those who require assistance should call the Wrangell Police Department at 907-874-3304.

Petersburg was briefly affected by the Wrangell outage, but the disconnect was rapidly identified and corrected, said Petersburg borough clerk Debby Thompson.

“We did get hit, but it was not off for very long,” Thompson said in a phone interview. “SEAPA was somehow able to isolate the Wrangell lines and get the power flowing back to Petersburg.”

A winter weather advisory for Wrangell, Petersburg and Hyder was extended by the National Weather Service until Friday morning. At least 7-12 inches of snow is expected, falling primarily on Wednesday night.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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