Southern Southeast Alaska saw heavy rains over the weekend, resulting in downed trees and power outages in Ketchikan, and at least one landslide.
Pete Boyd is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Juneau. He says a powerful and complex storm hit the panhandle Saturday and Sunday. The northern end saw colder temperatures and snow, while warmer temperatures and rain were experienced at the southern end.
“You name the precipitation type and amounts across the entire area, we have had it. Heavy rain, heavy snow, freezing rain, sleet, strong winds, high winds, partial flooding, and even some slide reports, not official, of some landslides.”
Boyd says the weather station at Ketchikan International Airport reported nearly 3 inches of rain on Saturday. On Sunday, 6.02 inches were recorded. He says that broke the previous November 1st record of 3.94 inches.
Ketchikan Public Utilities Electric Division Manager Andy Donato says the First City experienced several power outages over the weekend. On Saturday, at about 5:30 p.m., heavy winds downed branches and took out power for about three hours north of mile 15 North Tongass Highway.
On Sunday at about 9 p.m., a tree fell across Tongass Highway at mile 5.5 north near Ward Cove. Donato says the tree took out not only KPU lines, but also lines operated by Southeast Alaska Power Agency.
“So all that was pretty much destroyed with the tree coming down. So SEAPA was disconnected by that tree fall.”
SEAPA is a wholesale power company operating facilities that serve Ketchikan, Wrangell and Petersburg. Donato says the Ketchikan outage would not have affected the other communities.
He says Sunday’s outage affected 3,418 KPU households and businesses. Power was restored in phases in order to manage load. He says about 730 customers in the Ward Cove area were without power for about 13 hours while the tree was removed and lines repaired. Though power has been restored to most of the community, Donato says isolated outages remain.
“There are things as severe as a tree falling on a house and it’s also hanging on suspended wires. So all these little work orders have to be investigated and worked upon.”
Outside of Ketchikan, one landslide was reported on Port St. Nicolas Road in Craig. City Manager Jon Bolling says the road was closed and clearing delayed for safety reasons. Because several students and staff live along that road, he says school was cancelled on Monday.
Federal meteorologist Pete Boyd says mostly scattered showers are predicted for the next few days with a chance of snow in the evening. He says another rain storm is expected to move in late Wednesday, but nothing as extreme as was seen last weekend.