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Weather events result in regional power outages

Falling snow is only pretty until the power starts going out. And wet, heavy snow was the cause of multiple outages that recently disrupted regional power service.

Avista reported 155 customers in the Elk City area were without power for nine hours Monday, Jan. 6, starting at 7:47 a.m., after snow brought down a pole cross arm, causing a power line to fall.

“What took so long,” said Avista spokesperson Debbie Simock, “is crews had to take out a snowcat and patrol the line to find the problem, and that took time because of the remoteness of where the outage was occurring.”

The day prior, Sunday, Jan. 4, 123 Avista customers in Grangeville were out from 10:59 p.m. to 1:07 a.m., due to a snow-related outage.

For Idaho County Light and Power Cooperative, wet heavy snow caused several outages on Dec. 28-29 in the Lower Middlefork, Lowell, Selway, and Tahoe areas, according to Chad Hill, engineering and operations manager.

“Most of the outages were caused by heavily snow-loaded trees falling onto our power line,” he said. “High winds caused guy wires to fail on the Salmon River area on Dec. 31 and again on Jan 2.”  

On Jan. 4, high winds and snow-loaded trees caused outages in the Glenwood, Lowell, and Selway areas, and all power was restored at 7:35 a.m. on Monday.

“The linemen have worked very hard especially considering the conditions they have had to work in and the steep terrain,” Hill said.


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