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Southcentral storm pummels region with rain and high winds

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Update 3:38 p.m.:

Only around 100 residences are still without power, Chugach electric reports.

Update 1:55 p.m.:

Chugach electric reports that crews are making progress, and that over 1,000 customers have had their service restored in the the Indian, O'Malley and Hillside neighborhoods. Crews are still working to restore power to several hundred other residences.

Update 10:35 a.m.:

Chugach electric reported that at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, 1,200 customers lost power Chugach's Hillside Substation, the vast majority located off a feeder near Rabbit Creek and Goldenview. Lower Hillside is facing an outage of about 60 residences. Seven crews are working to restore power.

 

Rain continues to pummel Southcentral Alaska Wednesday, with several more inches of precipitation expected to fall through Thursday, thanks to a "fire hose" of moisture passing through the region. A flood watch for the Anchorage area was cancelled Tuesday night, but flood advisories and high wind warnings remain in effect.

Chugach electric reported that around 200 people lost power around 10 p.m. Tuesday, primarily in Muldoon and across lower Hillside neighborhoods. Overnight outages peaked at 250 customers, but as of Wednesday morning, eight overnight crews had restored service to most people, and only a handful of customers remained without power.

Farther north, Matanuska Electric Association reported minor outages in various communities throughout the service area, including Wasilla, Eklutna and Chugiak. Crews were able to restore those outages, but MEA reported another "widespread outage" on their Facebook page shortly after 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, affecting Eklutna, Palmer and Wasilla.

A flood advisory replaced the flood watch Wednesday, with the National Weather Service (NWS) citing heavy rainfall that has saturated soils and caused high water levels for many streams. NWS asks the public to be cautious in low-lying areas, and report any flooding to law enforcement. The flood advisory is in effect until 6 p.m. Thursday.

Dave Stricklan, NWS Hydro-meteorological technician, said “everything is right on track” with the forecast. As of Wednesday morning, he had seen winds of 77 mph at Paradise Valley, but had not yet received reports from all their stations.

A high wind warning for the Anchorage region remains in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday, with southeast winds predicted up to 110 miles per hour along Turnagain Arm and at higher elevations; in lower hillside and east Anchorage, winds up to 70 mph are forecast. Elsewhere in Anchorage, winds up to 55 mph are expected.

Rain is forecast through Wednesday, and is likely to continue through Thursday night.

Seward is under a high wind warning in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday, and Cordova and Valdez have been issued a flood warning, in effect until Thursday evening. On coastal waters, south of the Alaska Peninsula to the western Gulf of Alaska, a gale warning is in effect through Wednesday night.

For up-to-date weather forecasts, head to the National Weather Service's website.