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Windstorm in Anchorage causes prolonged power outage

Alaska Dispatch
Loren Holmes photo

Anchorage's two big utility companies scrambled Wednesday afternoon to restore electricity to up to 9,000 customers still without power after a sleepless night of responding to snapped power lines and outages in Alaska's largest city. 

An unusual windstorm Tuesday night and Wednesday morning knocked out power to a good portion of Anchorage, Alaska's largest city. Falling trees snapped power lines, and even though crews worked through the night, thousands of Anchorage residents remained without power Wednesday afternoon.

Most of Municipal Light and Power's 30,000 customers lost electricity on Tuesday, while another 25,000 in the Chugach Electric service area were similarly without power at the peak of the blackout Tuesday night. ML&P said Wednesday afternoon that most of its customers who lost power had seen service restored.

Chugach was still working in neighborhoods off Debarr Road and the Hillside, repairing feeder lines that powered those neighborhoods, according to Sarah Wiggers, communications coordinator with Chugach. Between 6,000 and 9,000 customers were still in the dark Wednesday afternoon.

"Right now the crews will be working 24/7," Wiggers said. "They hope to have the majority of the 6-9,000 on before this evening, but there will also be isolated pockets of customers who still won't have power." 

Some customers might not see service restored until Thursday, thanks to the extreme amount of debris and fallen trees in some areas.