Unseasonable windstorm ravages Anchorage

Julia O'Malley,Kyle Hopkins
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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 floatplane rests upside down following an overnight wind storm Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at the Lake Hood gravel strip.
ERIK HILL / 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
A large tree smashed a Toyota in Mt. View during the windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / 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
A large trees rests in the parking lot at Russian Jack Springs Park on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
windstorm hit Anchorage on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / 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
A downed tree frames a walker at Russian Jack Springs Park on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / 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 spruce tree rests in the road in Mt.View after the windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / 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
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
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
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
An uprooted tree rests on an East Anchorage residence after the windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / 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
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
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
Alice Richardson surveys the damage to her car after a neighbor's tree fell on it.
Anne Raup / 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
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
Roofing material rests on a lawn along Baxter Road after a windstorm hit Anchorage 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
Roofing material rests on a lawn along Baxter Road after a windstorm hit Anchorage 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Leaves piled up near Baxter Road after the windstorm on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012.
BILL ROTH / 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
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
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
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
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

Neighborhoods hummed with the sound of chain saws Wednesday as residents cleared thousands of trees felled by a powerful, unseasonable windstorm that pummeled Anchorage. At least 50,000 homes and businesses lost power overnight.

Power utilities said it could be late Thursday before electricity is completely restored to roughly 10,000 customers still without power Wednesday afternoon. No one was seriously injured in the storm, but moderate damage was widespread. Sunrise Wednesday revealed smashed cars, demolished fences, splintered sheds, downed wires and crushed roofs.

The storm disrupted routines and caused confusion citywide. The Anchorage School District and University of Alaska Anchorage canceled classes. State offices closed and federal offices opened late. Cellphones didn't work. Websites went down. Airlines diverted flights. Anchorage firefighters were overwhelmed with hundreds of calls about snarled power lines and exploding transformers sparking small fires. Stop lights went dark. Morning rush-hour traffic crawled, with police officers posted at intersections, lights flashing.

In Northeast Anchorage, one of the hardest-hit parts of the city, cottonwoods lining a street north of Anchorage Baptist Temple looked like a giant stand of wheat mowed down by a scythe. Municipal crews chopped up birch that once sheltered the parking lot at Cheney Lake. Uprooted trees could be seen along nearly every north-south street from Chester Valley to Mountain View. Utility and city crews worked through neighborhoods, clearing hundreds of downed trees from streets and trails.

The National Weather Service recorded gusts of 88 mph at McHugh Creek and 63 mph at the Port of Anchorage. Much of the rest of the Anchorage Bowl had gusts topping out in the 60 mph range. Sensors in many of the windiest places, like the upper Hillside, lost power before the apex of the storm. Meteorologists said gusts likely reached 100 mph or more. On its Facebook page, the agency circulated one "unofficial" wind report from a resident, who said he measured gusts at 131 mph in the Glen Alps area.

"Nobody here can remember a storm this strong, this early in the season," said meteorologist Shaun Baines.

Neighborhoods were full of scenes of tree cutting and lawn clearing as winds continued to jangle wind chimes. Children, out of school, rode bicycles through the downed branches.

People wandered the streets, photographing the damage and trading stories from the night before. Many described the eerie darkness that enveloped the city as power went out. Wind howled. Trees cracked. Transformers crackled and exploded, coloring the sky green. Some time after midnight, the moon came out and the sky filled with stars that aren't usually visible because of the city lights.

In Nunaka Valley, resident Heidi Bowlus heard a loud crack around 11 p.m. Peering out the window of her son Jack's room, she saw leaves and tree trunk. A six-story cottonwood with a 2-foot wide trunk had landed on the roof, smashing the deck. Not long after, two other large trees in the front yard began to list at a 45-degree angle, pulling up the turf around them like an old carpet.

"About then we sent our boys over to the neighbors to spend the night," Heidi said.

Wednesday afternoon, her husband was on the roof with his chain saw. She was still waiting for power, her refrigerator and freezer plugged into a generator.

On Glacier Street in East Anchorage, Kristine Fredrickson went outside to investigate shortly after she lost power.

"I thought, 'Why does it look like there's a monster blocking my driveway?' I shined a flashlight on it and it was like, 'Oh my god!' " Fredrickson said, pointing at the mess of branches and logs blocking the way out. "I'm thinking this is going to cost me about a grand. I don't have the money for this. ... This wasn't part of the plan."

The storm arrived while trees were still thick with leaves and heavy with sap, said Mike Post, owner of Tall Trees tree service. In the powerful winds, branches caught the gusts like sails. Trunks snapped and trees toppled, dragging huge root systems out of the water-softened ground.

State Farm Insurance reported 200 claims had been filed by mid-Wednesday, with more expected. Tree services such as Tall Trees were flooded with calls.

Post has been in business in Anchorage since the mid-'90s. He's never seen damage like Tuesday's.

"It's unbelievable how many trees have come down," he said.

Over in Mountain View, Michael Rodgers spent Wednesday sawing a enormous birch tree that took out his carport and the car inside. Drivers slowed as they passed, sticking cellphones out the window to shoot pictures. He stopped his work to mug for the camera.

"Need any firewood?"

Reporters Casey Grove and Mike Dunham contributed to this story.

Photos: Anchorage windstorm aftermath
Reader photos: Anchorage windstorm Sept. 4-5
2012
By JULIA O'MALLEY and KYLE HOPKINS
Anchorage Daily News
Contact Julia O'Malley at or on
Contact Kyle Hopkins at or on