Most power restored and roads cleared following Mat-Su windstorm

PALMER — A few Mat-Su homes and businesses remained without power Tuesday after crews worked overnight to restore service cut off during Monday’s windstorm.

About 17,000 Matanuska Electric Association members — roughly a quarter of the utility’s total membership — were without power Monday as the storm’s 70 mph gusts brought trees down on power lines, said spokesperson Jennifer Castro. Fifteen crews worked overnight to restore service following 70 outages throughout the region, she said.

Wind gusts at the Palmer airport reached 71 mph Monday afternoon, with sustained wind speeds of 49 mph, National Weather Service meteorologist Christian Landry said. By about 11:15 p.m. those winds had dropped to gusts of 39 mph, then abruptly fell off to 7 mph just before midnight, he said.

The downed trees may have been weakened by last week’s snow dump, Castro said. That storm also caused a series of outages as branches bowed onto lines under the weight of the wet, heavy snow.

“With the wind, those trees that were already overloaded with snow, the wind gusts coming through causing the tree to snap and fall into the line,” she said. “So that was kind of the grand finale of the tree-line engagement.”

Borough road crews also worked overnight Monday clearing trees and drifting snow from roadways, said Matt Garner, who helps oversee borough road maintenance. He said felled trees closed about 10 roads over the course of the storm and as many as 20 more were partially blocked. All of those had been cleared by early Tuesday, he said.

While drifting snow also caused challenges for road crews, only one, on East Biscane Drive near the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer, was completely blocked. That road remained closed Tuesday due to a private vehicle stuck in a drift, he said.


Mat-Su school officials Monday evening announced preemptive school closures for Tuesday in anticipation of ongoing power outages and drifted roads. Unlike during school closures caused by the snowstorm early this month, no remote learning was scheduled.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District announced Tuesday that after-school activities were operating as planned for high schools, but activities at middle and elementary schools were “site discretion.”

Garner said residents who see blocked roads can report them on the borough’s problem reporter website. Castro said residents who spot trees that might impact power lines can report them to MEA for free removal.

Amy Bushatz

Amy Bushatz is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su covering Valley news for the ADN.