Powerful windstorm strikes Southcentral Alaska

Monday, May 7, 2018 - 16:08
  • Casey Joyce looks at a standalone treehouse that was knocked over by a gust of wind on Tuesday, April 21, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A tree lies across Sancturary Drive in Eagle River on Tuesday, April 21, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Shingles were torn off the roof of this home on Skyline Drive by a powerful windstorm Tuesday, April 21, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Traffic lights in Eagle River were knocked out during a power outage caused by a powerful windstorm Tuesday, April 21, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • MEA photo

More than 13,000 Matanuska Electric Association customers in Eagle River and Chugiak lost power Tuesday afternoon after the cooperative worked to fix outages caused by a large windstorm that hit Southcentral Alaska.

According to MEA, the outage affected customers from Peters Creek to Eagle River.

By 8 p.m. power had been restored to nearly all of the affected customers, with lingering outages reported on Eagle River Road and Hiland Road. The cooperative said it would post updates on social media and to its power outage map online at mea.coop.

At one point essentially all of Eagle River was without power, but electricity had been restored to much of downtown Eagle River, Birchwood and Chugiak by 7 p.m. Tuesday.

A lingering outage left most Eagle River Valley residents without electricity overnight, but MEA reported power had been restored areawide by Wednesday morning. 

MEA said the outages were due to trees knocked over by high winds. Outages were also reported in Anchorage and the Mat-Su.

The Anchorage area was pummeled by a wind storm Tuesday, with gusts on the Anchorage Hillside reportedly topping 90 MPH. Gusts in the Eagle River area were reportedly over 40 MPH, with much greater windspeeds at higher elevations.

A high wind warning was lifted at 7 p.m. Tuesday, but gusty winds were expected to continue overnight.

Shingles and satellite dishes were ripped off homes on Skyline Drive, and streets and yards across Chugiak-Eagle River were strewn with downed trees and branches.

Cleanup efforts began almost immediately, with piles of fresh sawdust popping up around town even as trees continue to sway and sometimes succumb to the powerful gusts.

On Sanctuary Drive Tuesday afternoon, Casey and Nickie Joyce worked to dismantle a large wooden playhouse that toppled over in their front yard. Casey Joyce said his neighbors — who also had their playground eqiupment knocked over by the storm — notified he and his wife of the overturned equipment via text.

“They sent us a picture of it,” said Joyce, who planned to store the equipment indoors until the storm subsided.

Elsewhere in Anchorage, damage ranged from trees falling onto power lines and homes to a Hillside home that appeared to have lost its roof.

For more about the storm, including a photo gallery and videos, visit adn.com.

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