High Winds Knock Out Power for 4,500 Golden Valley Customers Over Holiday Weekend

Sep 8, 2020

Winds gusting to nearly 90 miles an hour blew down trees and knocked out power Sunday night and Monday for more than 4,000 Golden Valley Electric Association customers in communities north of the Alaska Range.

Residents of several eastern Interior communities reported wind damage like torn-up roofs and at least a couple of trampolines that went airborne. Golden Valley spokesperson Meadow Bailey says the impact was widespread.

Falling trees damaged home, like this one in Delta, and other structures in communities around the Interior blasted by weekend winds.
Credit Facebook

“It was actually throughout our entire service are,” Bailey said, “but really the areas that had the most outages were like Nenana and in the Delta area.”

National Weather Service Meteorologist John Cowen says two Fort Greely weather stations clocked gusts of 88 miles an hour, and sustained winds over 50 miles an hour. Farther to the west, a weather station at Farewell Lake, near Denali, recorded a gust of 105 miles an hour.

“Through Windy Pass along the Parks Highway, we did have some very strong gusts in that area, too,” he said Monday. “I believe the top gust along the Parks Highway was 83 miles per hour.”

The weather service canceled its warning for the Delta area Monday afternoon after winds died down to around 30 miles an hour, gusting to 45. But Bailey says that was still enough to knock out power several more times throughout the day, sometimes for hours at a time, especially around Delta Junction.

“Delta is really the area that got hit the hardest, partially because the winds were so high there,” she said Monday afternoon. “And so that’s where we’re seeing the longer-duration outages.”

The National Weather Service posted this chart Monday to Facebook.
Credit National Weather Service/Facebook

Bailey says more than 4,500 Golden Valley customers had blackouts from Sunday night into Monday, including a few smaller outages around Fairbanks. She said Monday afternoon that seven repair crews will still working to restore power, including five in Delta.

“So they’ll be out as long as necessary until we get everyone back up and online,” she added.

The high-wind warning remained in effect into Monday evening for areas east of Delta all the way to the Canadian border, including Tok and the Fortymile.