Winds fell trees, knock out power across Juneau

By March 22, 2018 August 31st, 2018 Community, Juneau, Weather

Michele Morgan’s house in downtown Douglas sustained minor damage during a windstorm Thursday. (Photo by Jacob Resneck/KTOO)

Winds gusting to nearly 80 mph in downtown Juneau and Douglas on Thursday triggered a high wind warning by the National Weather Service.

Gusts of up to 79 mph were measured at the boat harbor in downtown Douglas. Michele Morgan’s house on the corner of Fourth and C streets isn’t far from there.

“This morning pickets flew off the back of our fence and our dogs got out and while I was out chasing them around, the roof of the chicken coop flew off – it’s still missing and then the back door flew off and won’t close,” she said. “So, yeah, we’ve had some big wind damage.”

Winds knocked out a transmission line, tripping a substation, which affected more than 1,150 homes and businesses in downtown Juneau.

Alaska Electric Light and Power restored service within the hour.

Then around midday, a tree fell on a power line on Thane Road. That cut electricity and blocked the road to the area. About an hour later, both road access and electricity was restored.

National Weather Service forecaster Kimberly Vaughan said the gusts are expected to taper off.

The high winds themselves will be coming down this afternoon to evening time,” she said Thursday afternoon. “But we’ll still have some strong winds in the area overnight.”

Gastineau Channel is regularly visited by the notorious Taku Winds.

“The Taku is a feature when we have the cold air in Canada and it basically, there’s a narrowing of the winds that comes across the mountains from the east and comes rushing down the mountain and into the channel,” Vaughan explained.

But that’s not what’s causing these gusts.

“These winds, it’s just the gradient is tight, and we actually have more of a northerly wind with this,” Vaughan said.

Michele Morgan said her neighbors helped her find her dog. She said she’s not overly concerned about the winds.

“Well, our house is 111 years old, so she’s been through this before so we feel a little more comfortable,” she said. “But this is the first time we’ve had that much damage flying down and I got my neighbor’s trash can back to her house this morning.”

The National Weather Service advises residents in both downtowns to secure objects in their yards and watch for flying debris.

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