Skip to main Content
Weather

Thousands lose power from the Kenai Peninsula to the Mat-Su as winds ramp up

  • Author: Tess Williams
  • Updated: December 9, 2019
  • Published December 8, 2019

Skaters took to the icy streets near downtown Anchorage and played hockey on 10th Avenue along Delaney Park Strip on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Update 1:30 p.m.:

Over 3,500 Chugach Electric customers were without power around 11 a.m. Monday as crews worked to find and repair equipment damage in South Anchorage and on the Hillside, Girdwood, Hope and Cooper Landing, according to a Facebook post.

“We urge our members to find your emergency supplies and prepare for a long day,” Chugach said.

12:35 pm Monday: Just over 1000 members on the Hillside are restored after linemen got some trees out of the line. In...

Posted by Chugach Electric on Monday, December 9, 2019

Chugach customers can find out the size and other details of outages online. Power was restored to more than 1,000 customers on the Hillside by about 12:30 p.m.

A wind gust of 113 mph was recorded Monday morning along the Seward Highway, according to the National Weather Service. Meteorologist Eric Drewitz said the gust was recorded at 8:50 a.m. south of Potter Marsh. Alyeska Resort reported a gust of 118 mph gust around 4 a.m.

Winds are expected to stay strong through Monday.

High winds are expected to pick up in the Hillside Monday afternoon and gusts of 80 mph are possible, according to an alert issued by the National Weather Service. Gusts of 40 mph are expected to hit the rest of the Anchorage Bowl Monday evening, with gusts to 60 mph in Northeast Anchorage and lower elevations on the Hillside.

Nearly 10,000 customers in the Matanuska Valley lost power for about a half hour Monday morning, from Palmer to Sutton, according to a post from Matanuska Electric Association.

Palmer was fully restored about 11:15 a.m., MEA said.

Drewitz said Anchorage received only a trace amount of rain overnight, but nearly 2 inches was recorded in Homer by 11 a.m. Monday. There was rain across the Kenai Peninsula and into Whittier Monday afternoon, Drewitz said. Light rain is possible in Anchorage during the afternoon and evening, but Drewitz said it will end overnight.

Meteorologists warned that roads would be icy Monday and Tuesday. Anchorage police responded two car crashes with injuries, six without and 11 vehicles in distress, a spokeswoman said.

At Turnagain Pass, avalanche danger remained high Monday, according to a forecast from the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. Strong winds, heavy snow and rain make natural avalanches likely, it said.

A hiker survived burial by an avalanche Saturday on Flattop Mountain in Anchorage. Wind triggered the avalanche, said Wendy Wagner, director of the avalanche information center.

Original Story:

Strong, warm winds are forecast to bring rain to Southcentral Alaska on Monday and will melt some of the recent Anchorage snowfall, meteorologists said.

Temperatures are expected to rise until Tuesday before dropping again to create an icy glaze on roadways, said National Weather Service meteorologist Pam Szatanek.

The Anchorage School District canceled classes Monday because of deteriorating road conditions.

Anchorage saw a record high temperature Sunday of 46 degrees. Temperatures were expected to hit 44 degrees near the airport on Monday.

Anchorage, Szatanek said, will likely see only about a tenth of an inch of rain. But paired with the high temperatures, it will melt some of the snow left behind from last week.

How much of the snow that will melt is “the million dollar question,” Szatanek said. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to be a super soaker for Anchorage.”

Southeast winds are expected to hit 55 to 70 mph through Turnagain Arm, though gusts up to 115 mph were possible.

The winds are expected to hit the Anchorage Bowl by Monday evening with gusts around 40 mph, but the lower Hillside and northeast Anchorage may see 60 mph gusts in the afternoon. The Hillside could see gusts up to 80 mph, a weather service alert said.

Skaters took to the icy streets near downtown Anchorage to play hockey on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019.
Jason Geck and his son Tucker Geck, 6, ice skate on the street on their way home after playing hockey on the icy roads near downtown Anchorage on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (Bill Roth / ADN)

“Of course we’re always concerned about trees or tree branches coming down,” Szatanek said. “And there could be power outages.”

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough is expected to see weather similar to Anchorage’s during the next few days. Temperatures will likely be in the 30s Tuesday before dropping below freezing that evening. Szatanek said driving will be dangerous as the temperature drops because the melted snow and rain will freeze and create icy roads.

“It’s going to be treacherous driving, especially if you don’t have studs on your tires,” Szatanek said.

High winds hit portions of the Kenai Peninsula early Monday and were expected to continue throughout the day, according to an online alert issued by the weather service. An 89 mph gust was recorded in Seward around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

The worst of the storm is expected to hit near Seward and the Prince William Sound region through Monday night, Szatanek said. The mountains will shelter Anchorage from the brunt of the storm, she said.

Szatanek said the southeast winds are part of a system blowing in from the North Pacific that will bring warmer weather and moisture.

About 4 inches of rain is expected to hit Seward, and Szatanek said there could be about 7 inches of rain in and east of Portage. The rain is expected to continue through Thursday. Temperatures near Portage are expected to remain in the high 30s and low 40s until Thursday.

Temperatures could rise even higher on the Kenai Peninsula. Szatanek said Seldovia is expected to see about 59 degrees Monday and Homer may reach 46 degrees.

Tucker Geck skates on the sidewalk on his way home after playing hockey on the icy streets near downtown Anchorage on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Grant Crosby and his daughter Hella Crosby, 8, take of their hockey skates while sitting on their porch after skating on the icy streets near downtown Anchorage on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (Bill Roth / ADN)



Local news matters.

Support independent, local journalism in Alaska.

Comments