Story last updated at 3:49 p.m. Thursday, October 31, 2002

Thousands around lower peninsula suffer power outages
by Carey James
Staff Writer

photo: news

  Photo by Gary Thomas, Homer News
Tammy Hagerty, City of Homer parks maintenance coordinator, helps Tom Schroeder (in the tree) remove a fallen tree from Ben Walters Lane Friday morning.  
With rivers raging and roads severed throughout the Kenai Peninsula last Thursday evening, residents braced themselves for act two of the fall fury, a windstorm.

Gusts of up to 48 mph did what they do best on the peninsula these days -- bring down trees, and with them, power lines.

Around 1,700 residents lost power starting early Friday morning, HEA spokesman Joe Gallagher said Tuesday. Most of the outages were in the Diamond Ridge, West Hill, East Hill and Skyline Drive areas, Gallagher said, although other areas of Homer as well as outlying communities were affected.

The outages were not unexpected. Gallagher said with the road closures, crews and equipment were stationed in Homer, Anchor Point and the Stariski Creek area on Thursday night.

"We strategize on how to place our crew to best respond" considering the road closures, he said. As a result, crews were able to make repairs quickly in most areas, with the exception of Voznesenka and Halibut Cove.

Most of the outages were caused by trees falling on power lines. The trees were likely made unstable by the highly saturated ground, and were uprooted more easily in the wind than usual, Gallagher said.

One exception, however, was a line that snapped in the Blackwater Bend area between Anchor Point and Homer. Repairs to that line, which fell into some of the flooding in the area, had to wait until water subsided on Friday.

Halibut Cove also had to wait a little longer for repairs, as crews were unable to fly to the area by helicopter until Saturday.

On Monday, more high winds took out power on the far side of the bay as well as the Skyline Drive area. Skyline power was restored within hours, while the Halibut Cove area power was restored by Wednesday.

"Wind is always a problem, but the heavy rains made it worse," Gallagher said.

Carey James can be reached at cjames@homernews.com.

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