Update: Winter weather leads to power outages, snow days

AELP crew snow day
An AEL&P crew clears trees from a section of power line at 17 mile Glacier Highway late Wednesday morning. Photo by Bill Legere/KTOO.

Alaska Electric Light and Power crews worked nonstop from about 5 a.m. Wednesday until just after 4 o’ clock in the afternoon, responding to power outages due to heavy snow.

Spokeswoman Deb Driscoll says pretty much everywhere north of Auke Bay experienced isolated outages.

“So we had quite a few [outages], and we mobilized all of our crew and once we realized that the weather was continuing to get worse and that outages would most likely continue we also recruited the help of other electricians in town,” Driscoll said.

She says all power was restored by about 4 p.m. Wednesday. But she says it’s likely that pockets of Juneau will continue to experience isolated outages throughout the winter storm expected to last through Thursday afternoon.

She says customers who lose power should call AEL&P at 780-2222 during the day or 586-9765 after hours.

“Sometimes we say you can wait an hour before calling us. Or if they see that everyone’s out of power, sometimes we say we probably know about it,” Driscoll said. “But we want everyone to call, because it’s very likely in this type of weather that there’s just small pockets of outages, and that doesn’t show up in our system. We rely on our customers to notify us about that.”

Driscoll says AEL&P posts information about power outages on social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

Meanwhile, so much snow fell at Lena Point Wednesday that the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute has closed for the day. About 65 personnel have gone home, according to Facilities Manager John Cooper.

“Since 6 o’clock we’ve gotten over a foot of snow and at times it was exceeding over an inch and hour,” Cooper said.

“So the road conditions getting out here were such that they were bad and getting worse and we made the call to send people home and I’ve got my crew out there cleaning up the parking lot again,” he said with a laugh.

Cooper says employees have been told to check their email regarding work on Thursday.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Fisheries Center next door remained open Wednesday with a small staff. An employee says most of the scientists were out at a conference anyway.

While conditions out Glacier Highway were treacherous Wednesday, Juneau Police Lieutenant David Campbell says the roads weren’t much of an issue in town. But Campbell says he expects that to change when the temperature drops and everything starts to freeze.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for Juneau through 4 p.m. Thursday. According to the National Weather Service, 13 to 24 inches of snow fall is possible during the storm.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include additional information and comment from AEL&P

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