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High winds, record-breaking warmth in Anchorage bring slick streets and power outages

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: December 12, 2017
  • Published December 11, 2017

Bob Savello retrieves his garbage can after it was blown down an icy East Anchorage street during the windstorm on Monday morning. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Anchorage sidewalks were slick with ice and the roads were full of slush, ice and puddles Monday because of unseasonably high temperatures. Some areas were without power after high winds swept through the area.

By mid-morning, the temperature at the National Weather Service office in Anchorage had reached 46 degrees. The record high temperature for Dec. 11 in the Anchorage area is 47 degrees, set in 1985.

Sunday's high temperature, also 46 degrees, broke the record for that date in the Anchorage area, said NWS meteorologist Rebecca Anderson.

A high-pressure ridge is "bringing higher temperatures in from the California coast," she said. The highest temperature on record for the month of December in the Anchorage area is 48 degrees, she said.

Winds whipped through the area through the morning. Around 9 a.m., a wind speed of 37 mph was recorded at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Anderson said. There was also an observation of wind at 68 mph around Upper O'Malley Road, she said.

Wing covers flap in the morning wind as the sun rises over the Chugach Mountains, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. Much of Merrill Field was coated with water covered ice as the warm front moved through the area. (Anne Raup / ADN)

About 140 Chugach Electric Association customers were without power around noon on Monday, said spokeswoman Julie Hasquet. A tree fell into a power line.

"We assume that's from the wind," Hasquet said.

About 1,900 Matanuska Electric Association customers were without power in the Eagle River area, according to a post on MEA's Facebook page Monday morning.

"There is one large outage and a couple smaller outages," the post said. "The biggest one is impacting from northern downtown to Fire Lake area."

By about 1 p.m., MEA said on Facebook that it was down to 99 members without power in the Eagle River and Birchwood/Chugiak areas.

Ully Felarca sands the parking lot at the Anchorage Junior Academy off O’Malley Road by hand as the windstorm brought temperatures in the 40s and turned snow-cover areas into skating rinks on Monday. (Bill Roth / ADN)

"All of them have been wind-related, trees and lines," said MEA spokeswoman Julie Estey. "We're keeping on top of things."

Municipal Light & Power spokeswoman Julie Harris said there was a wind-related outage that started at 1 p.m. in Mountain View, affecting 24 customers. Crews expected to restore power shortly, she said.

By about 3 p.m. Monday, the Anchorage Police Department had received calls for two crashes with injuries and nine without, and 10 vehicles in distress (for example, going into a ditch or having a mechanical problem), spokeswoman Renee Oistad said in an email.

Temperatures are expected to stay in the 30s and 40s through Wednesday, Anderson said.

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