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'It was like a war zone'

Kyle Hopkins
Jason Dutch and Xavier Spearman clear downed trees in the backyard of Joe Kolreg's home on Reflection Drive in east Anchorage on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage and blow down 11 cottonwood trees into Kolreg's yard.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Municipal Light and Power lineman Quinn Malcolm works on cutting tree leaning against the power line on Maplewood Street on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Split birch trunks rest in a yard, grazing a home following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 along Beechcraft Drive in west Anchorage.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
A downed tree frames a walker at Russian Jack Springs Park on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Roofing material rests on a lawn along Baxter Road after a windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
David Schamber unloads a tree that came down near his home in southwest Anchorage at the South Anchorage Wood Lot. The South Anchorage Wood Lot near West Klatt Road saw a steady stream of trucks unloading downed trees from this week's windstorm on Friday, September 7, 2012. The lot is charging $10 per truckload and $20 per dump truck load to dispose of the debris.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Xavier Spearman, loads sections of Cottonwood tree onto a wheelbarrow as Jason Dutch cuts up a tree in the backyard of Joe Kolreg's home on Reflection Drive in east Anchorage on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage and blow down 11 cottonwood trees into Kolreg's yard.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
11 cottonwood trees along a greenbelt behind Joe Kolreg's home on Reflection Drive in east Anchorage crashed through his fence with some of the trees coming to rest on his house. Joe Kolreg stands on his back deck on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Shattered and downed trees fill a yard following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at Brooke Drive and St. Elias Street in west Anchorage.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Trees rest on power lines heading from Mt.View towards JBER after the windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
A municipal crew clears Southport Drive on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. A windstorm late Tuesday and early Wednesday brought down trees and disrupted power in many places in the Anchorage area.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Mike Stephenson unloads his pickup at the South Anchorage Wood Lot on Friday afternoon, September 7, 2012. The lot, located at the South Anchorage Sports Complex, is charging $10 per truck load and $20 per dump truck load.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Larry Mallars cuts down a cottonwood tree which fell into the backyard of a Reflection Drive home in east Anchorage home on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage. Mallars and his brother David Mallars were clearing downed trees from the backyard of a friend's mother's home. The friend is on the North Slope working.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Municipal Light and Power lineman Quinn Malcolm works on cutting tree leaning against the power line on Maplewood Street on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A tree trunk sits shattered following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 along Loussac Drive in west Anchorage.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
A spruce tree rests in the road in Mt.View after the windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Gary Moore looks at uprooted trees in the backyard of his East Anchorage home after a windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Chugach Electric lineman Terry Korthuis cuts up a tree that fell on power lines behind homes on Lois Drive in Spenard on Thursday, September 6, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Trees blown down by the wind are partially cut up and rest on top of a small truck on Lee Street in east Anchorage on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Bobby Martin of the municipal Parks and Recreation Department cuts up the flagpole at the Veterans Memorial following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 on the Delaney Park Strip.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Aneliese Palmer relies on her laptop battery after Kaladi Brothers Coffee once again loses power and the ability to serve customers Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in the Northern Lights Center in Midtown.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
A container rests against utility poles in the industrial area near Ship Creek after the windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Phoenix Iiams, 22 mos., watches his mother Amber Iiams pickup leaves at their East Anchorage home after a windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Erika Regg is keeping food from her refrigerator on ice in a cooler in her kitchen in her apartment on Lois Drive in Spenard on Thursday, September 6, 2012. Regg says power went out at about 11pm Tuesday night. They're also running a generator to power a borrowed chest freezer.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
The roof of a trailer house on Cirque Place in east Anchorage is partially blown off on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Overnight winds leave a portable toilet on its side at the Lake Hood gravel strip Wednesday morning September 5, 2012 at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Jack Schroder and Oscar Stibitz, both 8, clamber onto downed trees while touring their neighborhood following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Iliamna Avenue in west Anchorage.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Teddy Thorstad checks out the state of his truck, parked on Kinnikinnick St. after the windstorm felled a spruce tree on it, early Wednesday, September 5, 2012.
JULIA O'MALLEY / Anchorage Daily News
Children play on a toppled tree in their yard in East Anchorage after a windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Amanda Walch reads by flashlight and her husband Brian uses a computer at their powerless home on Arlene Street in east Anchorage. Thousands of homes and businesses remained without power late Thursday night September 6, 2012, following the windstorm earlier this week.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Dave Ottenad clears out the debris from 2 downed cottonwood trees off of Image Drive in east Anchorage on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Clouds, ran and wind hit the Anchorage area and the Chugach Mountains on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. This view is looking east across Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. A windstorm late Tuesday and early Wednesday brought down trees and disrupted power in many places in the Anchorage area.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A downed tree rests on a section of fence following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at Turnagain Parkway and Douglas Drive in west Anchorage.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage firefighters deal with a fire at 14th and Karluk early Wednesday morning. Much of the city had no power for the night during the windstorm September 5, 2012.
JULIA O'MALLEY / Anchorage Daily News
Chris Colon, left, and his father Charles Seldon remove a mountain ash tree that came to rest on Colon's home on Camrose Drive in East Anchorage as a result of a windstorm that hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2012. Colon said, "luckily the roof wasn't damaged." Damage from a windstorm that hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Sara Johnston looks out her window at the Chugach Electric crews who were working late into the night from her home on Diomede Street in east Anchorage. Thousands of homes and businesses remained without power late Thursday night September 6, 2012, following the windstorm earlier this week.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Xavier Spearman, loads sections of Cottonwood tree onto a wheelbarrow as Jason Dutch cuts up a tree in the backyard of Joe Kolreg's home on Reflection Drive in east Anchorage on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage and blow down 11 cottonwood trees into Kolreg's yard.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Olivia Lada, left, and Emily Evans climb on the rocks at Beluga Point while they film a scene in a video on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. School was closed Wednesday for the Polaris K-12 School students and the rest of the Anchorage School District. A windstorm late Tuesday and early Wednesday brought down trees and disrupted power in many places in the Anchorage area.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A spruce tree torn from its base rests across a driveway following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 on West 30th Avenue off Turnagain Street in west Anchorage.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Teri Hahn looks at a fence damaged by an uprooted cottonwood tree in East Anchorage after a windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Chris Colon removes a mountain ash tree that came to rest on his home on Camrose Drive in East Anchorage as a result of a windstorm that hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. Colon said, "luckily the roof wasn't damaged."
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Cheryl Babbe, right, uses a flashlight and reads passages from the book "(Things) My Dad Says" to Bill Demming at their home on Honeysuckle Drive in East Anchorage. Thousands of homes and businesses remained without power late Thursday night September 6, 2012, following the windstorm earlier this week.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Larry Mallars cuts down a cottonwood tree which fell into the backyard of a Reflection Drive home in east Anchorage home on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage. Mallars and his brother David Mallars were clearing downed trees from the backyard of a friend's mother's home. The friend is on the North Slope working.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Kristopher Paull, in black at left, talks to another person at the scene of an overturned plane near the gravel airstrip at Lake Hood on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. Paull says this plane is not his. A windstorm late Tuesday and early Wednesday brought down trees and disrupted power in many places in the Anchorage area.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Samantha Hill remains at her post at Woolies after the power goes off yet again Wednesday morning September 5, 2012 at Northern Lights Center in Midtown.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
An uprooted tree rests on an East Anchorage residence after the windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Chris Colon removes a mountain ash tree that came to rest on his home on Camrose Drive in East Anchorage as a result of a windstorm that hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. Colon said, "luckily the roof wasn't damaged."
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Rachel Weaver lit candles and aimed a flashlight at her living room ceiling for light late Thursday. She watched "Game of Thones" on her computer with battery power. Thousands of homes and businesses remained without power late Thursday night September 6, 2012, following the windstorm earlier this week.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Jason Dutch clears downed trees in the backyard of Joe Kolreg's home on Reflection Drive in east Anchorage on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage and blow down 11 cottonwood trees into Kolreg's yard.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
David Mallars throws a rope over a cottonwood tree which fell into the backyard of a Reflection Drive home in east Anchorage home on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage. Mallars and his brother Larry Mallars were clearing downed trees from the backyard of a friend's mother's home. The friend is on the North Slope working.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Betty Forbes of the municipal Parks and Recreation Department cuts up the flagpole at the Veterans Memorial following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 on the Delaney Park Strip.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Mike Young takes a chainsaw to a partially uprooted tree in his yard following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 along U Street near Westchester Lagoon.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Windy weather persists in Anchorage and the Chugach Mountains on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. This view is on Old Klatt Road. A windstorm late Tuesday and early Wednesday brought down trees and disrupted power in many places in the Anchorage area.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Charles Seldon helps remove a fallen tree on his son's house on Camrose Drive after a windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Jason Dutch and Xavier Spearman clear downed trees in the backyard of Joe Kolreg's home on Reflection Drive in east Anchorage on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage and blow down 11 cottonwood trees into Kolreg's yard.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Larry Mallars cuts down a cottonwood tree which fell into the backyard of a Reflection Drive home in east Anchorage home on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage. Mallars and his brother David Mallars were clearing downed trees from the backyard of a friend's mother's home. The friend is on the North Slope working.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Nicola Bier holds a stuffed animal as her friend Daniella Tritscher photographs it on Wednesday, September 5, 2012, in the strong wind along Turnagain Arm. The visitors from Germany brought a friend's owl on the trip and are sending photos of it back home to her. A windstorm late Tuesday and early Wednesday brought down trees and disrupted power in many places in the Anchorage area.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A shattered birch tree rests along H Street following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 10th Avenue downtown.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Ed Pico, Jr. cuts a spruce tree that landed on Teddy Thorstad's truck near DeBarr Road and Airport Heights Drive. An unusual windstorm took down many trees and produced a power outage for most of Anchorage, overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, September 4-5, 2012.
Anne Raup / Anchorage Daily News
Leaves piled up near Baxter Road after the windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
A birch tree is snapped off by the wind in east Anchorage on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm followed by heavy rain moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Mateaki Piu climbs a ladder to start cutting down a tree leaning against an east Anchorage home on Thursday, September 6, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A spruce tree broke across a parked truck during an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 on West 30th Avenue off Turnagain Street in west Anchorage.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Title Wave Books closes after losing power yet again Wednesday morning September 5, 2012 at the Northern Lights Center in Midtown.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Eric Moore took time Wednesday morning to cut trees that were blocking a trail near Tikishla Park in east Anchorage. His dog, Bella, walks with him.
Anne Raup / Anchorage Daily News
Shilan Wooten negotiates fallen trees covering the path along Baxter Road after a windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Snow dusts the peaks in the Chugach Mountains on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm followed by heavy rain moved through Anchorage and bringing termination dust to the mountains.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Xavier Spearman and Jason Dutch carry away the remains of the wind blown cottonwood tree the removed from Miriam Stobbe's Defiance Street home on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A toppled spruce tree rests atop wires following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 above a Loussac Drive home in west Anchorage.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
A large tree smashed a Toyota in Mt. View during the windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Alice Richardson surveys the damage to her car after a neighbor's tree fell on it.
Anne Raup / Anchorage Daily News
A toppled mailbox rests on its side after a windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Uprooted trees rest on their side along Resurrection Drive in East Anchorage after a windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Chad Jay, walking Beretta, and Joy Jay, walking Clara, are reflected in the water puddles along Reflection Drive in east Anchorage on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm followed by heavy rain moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A wind blown tree rests on a small house off of E 43rd Street on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage. Two trees rest on the roof of her home.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Tate Hart, 7, Oscar Stibitz, 8, and Jack Schroder, 8, check out a fallen tree in the Hart yard following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Turnagain.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
Pieces of a auto parts store sign rest in their parking lot after the windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
John Fleming clears limbs on Frances Elaine Circle on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. A windstorm late Tuesday and early Wednesday brought down trees and disrupted power in many places in the Anchorage area.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Harry and Pat Kieling walk the trails through the woods east of Cheney Lake on Saturday afternoon, September 8, 2012. The woods there, heavily affected by the windstorm earlier his week, were recently cleared of downed trees that crossed the trails.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Uprooted trees rest on their side along Resurrection Drive in East Anchorage after a windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Youngster play in water standing on Reflection Drive in east Anchorage on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm followed by heavy rain moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Melissa Walter and her son Landon Dwyer stand on the back deck of her rental home on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage. Two trees rest on the roof of her home.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Motorists find West Northern Lights still dark following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in west Anchorage.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
A large trees rests in the parking lot at Russian Jack Springs Park on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
A tree fell on a pickup truck in the Oceanview neighborhood on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. A windstorm late Tuesday and early Wednesday brought down trees and disrupted power in many places in the Anchorage area.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Cindy Rosser holds a cross section of a tree that fell in her yard on Otter Street earlier this week. Rosser, an elementary school teacher, plans to take the piece in and give her students in how tree rings can mark time.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Matt Krylo, left, and Jeff Todd remove fallen trees on Resurrection Drive after a windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Water floods Defiance Street after a small stream connected to Reflection Lake was blocked by storm debris on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Jesse Luna cuts up a tree blown down by the wind in the backyard of his Lynn Drive home on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A floatplane rests upside down following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at the Lake Hood gravel strip.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Roofing material rests on a lawn along Baxter Road after a windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Gordon Rosser cuts wood and clears debris from his yard on Otter Street in east Anchorage on Saturday afternoon, September 8, 2012. Rosser planted the tree in 1980 which toppled in the windstorm earlier this week. His family plans to make carved items such as ornaments and walking sticks out of some of the wood. .
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
A bicyclist rides past a damaged tree at Chugach Foothills Park as the windstorm began to hit Anchorage on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
A fence in the backyard of Dan Caffroy blew down and he lost a tree in east Anchorage on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm followed by heavy rain moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A large birch tree is blown over and resting against the power lines in a yard off of E. 40th street in east Anchorage on Wednesday, evening September 5, 2012 after a strong windstorm moved through Anchorage.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A floatplane rests upside down following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at the Lake Hood gravel strip.
ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News
The lighting at Russian Jack Springs Park was damaged by trees toppled in the windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Shea Etheredge gathers rounds of wood from a tree cut up on Lagoon Circle and Oceanview Drive on Wednesday, September 5, 2012. A windstorm late Tuesday and early Wednesday brought down trees and disrupted power in many places in the Anchorage area.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
David and Ian Schamber unload their pickup at left while Mike Stephenson uncovers his debris. The South Anchorage Wood Lot near West Klatt Road saw a steady stream of trucks unloading downed trees from this week's windstorm on Friday, September 7, 2012. The lot is charging $10 per truckload and $20 per dump truck load to dispose of the debris.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News

Thousands of homes and businesses in Anchorage and Mat-Su remained without power Wednesday as residents recovered from an overnight storm that blasted the region with high winds, uprooted trees and tore down electrical lines.

Roughly 6,000 Chugach Electric customers, 3,000 Matanuska Electric Association and an unknown number of Municipal Light & Power households still did not have electricity as of about 2:30 p.m., the utilities said. The companies hoped to restore power by Wednesday night but said some families and businesses may have to wait until Thursday.

No serious injuries had been reported as of noon Wednesday.

The storm arrived unusually early in the season, catching leafy trees like kites and yanking roots from rain-soaked soil before it was frozen.

"Nobody here can remember a storm this strong, this early in the season," said Shaun Baines, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Anchorage.

Airlines diverted flights to Fairbanks and an iconic, 100-foot-plus wooden flag pole, thick as a barrel, snapped on the Anchorage Park Strip, cleaving a tree on the way down. The Anchorage School District and University of Alaska Anchorage canceled classes as utility crews roamed neighborhoods, clearing tree branches and inspecting power lines.

Trees smashed cars, fences and, in some cases, houses across the city. The sound of chain saws filled neighborhoods. ML&P General Manager Jim Posey said he woke up to find a 50-foot aspen had fallen on his Ford F-150.

On the upper Hillside, wind gusts topped 100 mph around midnight before the sensor lost power, according to Weather Service forecaster Joshua Maloy.

The Weather Service recorded gusts of 88 mph at McHugh Creek and 63 mph at the Port of Anchorage.

The agency, on its Facebook page, circulated one "unofficial" wind report clocking gusts at 131 mph in the Glen Alps area. The Weather Service hasn't verified that number and can't vouch for the instruments used to record it, said Baines, the Anchorage meteorologist.

The Weather Service's equipment stopped reporting wind speeds at Glen Alps and McHugh Creek -- two areas that often see the greatest wind in an Anchorage storm -- early Tuesday night. That's because power outages or the wind itself likely knocked the instruments offline well before the storm reached its zenith, Baines said.

Between 7 p.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday, the Anchorage Fire Department responded to roughly 500 calls, said spokesman Al Tamagni. The department responds to only 50 to 80 calls on a typical night. Fire officials had to prioritize because there weren't enough resources to respond to all of them right away.

"The calls were mostly trees on (power) lines with arcing and sparking," Tamagni said. "We had a few tree and transformer fires."

In some cases firefighters used chain saws to clear roadways, he said. There were no major fires, he said. Tamagni was out before dawn, driving down Lake Otis Parkway, he said. The wind was howling, trees were down and power lines were sparking.

Despite the blackout, Anchorage residents turned to their smartphones and social media to describe the "pop" of blown transformer fuses heard across the city.

"It was like a war zone," Tamagni said.

A majority of Municipal Light & Power's Anchorage-area customers lost electricity at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when two major transmission lines went down within a 10-minute span, spokeswoman Ronnie Dent said.

"The backup to the backup failed," she said.

The power company serves downtown Anchorage, the university district and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, among other areas. Dent said Elmendorf was one of few customers that did not lose power.

Electricity had returned to most ML&P households by 5 a.m. Wednesday, according to the utility.

Falling trees and branches cut power to another 25,000 Chugach Electric customers.

The DeBarr Road area of East Anchorage was among the hardest hit, but outages blackened neighborhoods across the Anchorage Bowl.

"We had a portion up on the Hillside. ... We had the Boniface area. We had some out in the Raspberry area. We had Turnagain. Huffman. They were scattered throughout," said Chugach spokeswoman Sarah Wiggins.

Many of the 6,000 customers who remained without power Wednesday afternoon live in the Hillside, she said.

It's unclear when power will be restored to all areas with outages. Both Anchorage-area power companies hoped to have electricity back by Wednesday night, though they warned the process could take until Thursday morning.

Stoplights were out at many city intersections Wednesday morning, with drivers treating the crossings as four-way stops. Police cars -- lights flashing -- idled nearby.

Fifteen to 20 officers were diverted from other duties to aid in rush-hour and commuter traffic, said police spokeswoman Anita Shell. Drivers reported no serious accidents, she said.

About 200 people filed have homeowners insurance claims with State Farm as a result of the storm, some describing trees falling on their houses, garages and sheds, said spokesman Brad Hilliard. While some described moderate damage to their homes, none said their houses were uninhabitable as a result of the damage, he said.

Photos: Anchorage windstorm damage
Reader photos: Anchorage windstorm Sept. 4-5
2012
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Diverted jets crowd Fairbanks airport (News-Miner)
By KYLE HOPKINS
Anchorage Daily News