A wind storm that blew in Thursday night has knocked out power throughout the Kenai Peninsula. As of 2:20 p.m., the outage affected Homer Electric Customers in these areas:
· Old Sterling Highway between Homer and Anchor Point, 358 members affected;
· Portions of downtown Homer, 435 members affected;
· South Miller Loop/Island Lake Road area, 513 members affected; and
There also are outages in Kenai and Nikiski, with scattered outages throughout the peninsula, said HEA spokesperson Joe Gallagher.
"This storm is pretty much top to bottom covering our entire service territory," he said.
Seldovia, Port Graham and Nanwalek were the first to lose power about 9 p.m. Thursday night.
"We've been bascially responding to outages ever since," Gallagher said.
Outages can be reported to 1-888-8OUTAGE. HEA cautioned people to stay away from downed power lines.
Power has been restored to those areas and Tutka Bay using a generator in Seldovia. Diamond Ridge also lost power this morning, but power has been restored there.
Most of the outages have been caused by winds knocking over trees onto power lines, Gallagher said. The Homer Airport recorded gusts up to 60 mph as of this morning. The wind chill is 11 degrees, with the actual temperature 28 degrees.
The National Weather Service on Thursday had issued a red flag fire danger warning for the western Kenai Peninsula through midnight Friday. A red flag warning means critical fire conditions are imminent. The weather service urged residents to check with local fire departments before burning. Homer Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Painter said burn permits don't allow burning in winds above 10 mph. He also asked people to check burn piles to make sure ash and embers don't get rekindled in high winds.
On Friday, the weather service also issued a gale warning for Kachemak Bay, with north winds up to 45 knots and gusts to 55 knots, seas to 7 feet, snow, and freezing spray. The warning calls for northeast winds to 25 knots this evening, with seas 5 feet.
In the Lakeshore Drive area near the Homer News, winds knocked down several trees, with one tree hanging on power lines at the east end of the road behind the Wagon Wheel and Homer Saw and Cycle. Police and HEA workers had blocked off that section of the road. There are downed and uprooted trees all over the peninsula, with some trees also hanging on power lines.
A power pole also had snapped at Homer City Hall, with lines dangling over the south end of the parking lot. City Hall is on a generator.