High winds in the Matanuska Valley and Valdez area caused hazardous driving conditions Saturday while multiple power outages were reported in the Eagle River-Chugiak area.
High wind warnings were in place for the Matanuska Valley, Valdez and Thompson Pass for most of the day Saturday. By 3 p.m., peak winds of 66 mph in Valdez and 60 mph in Palmer had been recorded, said Pam Szatanek, a forecaster with the National Weather Service’s Anchorage office.
In Palmer, the gusts were causing large amounts of snow to drift into the roads, making driving difficult, Szatanek said.
The wind also brought significant wind chill, she said. While the recorded temperature in Palmer on Saturday afternoon was 23 degrees Fahrenheit, it felt like 3 degrees with wind chill factored in.
Meanwhile, the Matanuska Electric Association reported power outages in Eagle River, at one point affecting around 3,000 members, and an outage from Thunderbird Falls to Chugiak affecting over 1,700 members. The association said on Facebook that crews were “finding lots of trees on lines so that’s what’s taking a while to get everyone back on but they are making progress.”
By 6:30 p.m., power had been restored to many people experiencing the outage from Thunderbird Falls to Chugiak while about 600 members in Eagle River were still without power, Matanuska Electric said.
***SATURDAY OUTAGES*** UPDATE, 6:00pm: they were able to get it back down to about 600 members out of power. Still...Posted by Matanuska Electric Association on Saturday, November 5, 2022
While gust speeds in Eagle River and Chugiak were “not as impressive” as Palmer and Valdez, it was still windy, Szatanek said. She said there were many factors involved in power outages besides wind speed.
“If you have dead branches or exposed infrastructure, it’s not always going to be the areas that have the worst conditions that have the highest impacts,” she said.
Matanuska Electric Association encouraged residents to report outages by calling their outage line at 907–746-7697.