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Alaskans shiver in record cold

Windstorm blows out power to 13,000 customers as mercury plunges

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (UPI) | November 19, 2011


"Normally, maybe once a winter we'll see a big windstorm packing the punch that these two had. And sometimes we'll go several winters before we see a wind as intense as this."

—Joe Gallagher, Homer Electric Association


While Alaskans shivered in record low temperatures Friday in Fairbanks, those on the Kenai Peninsula struggled this week with widespread power failures.

In Fairbanks, the National Weather Service reported the temperature at 3 a.m. Friday was 36 degrees below zero F, a record for Nov. 18 and the third daily low, the Fairbanks News-Miner reported. On Thursday, the low was an even chillier 41 degrees below, another daily record.

On the Kenai Peninsula southwest of Anchorage, about 13,000 homes and businesses served by the Homer Electric Association lost power at some point after a windstorm, the Anchorage Daily News reported. About 800 still had no electricity late Thursday, and the association said getting everyone back on line might take until Saturday.

Joe Gallagher, a spokesman for the utility, said crews were still working on damage from an earlier storm when the second one hit Tuesday. He said employees discovered Thursday the second storm downed more trees and cut more lines than thought.

"It's a mess," he said.

"Normally, maybe once a winter we'll see a big windstorm packing the punch that these two had. And sometimes we'll go several winters before we see a wind as intense as this."

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