Windstorm aftermath: Crews restore power to Tok; Tanacross, Dot Lake work continues

Sep 19, 2012

Line-repair crews have restored power to most of the Tok area, and work continues in Tanacross and the Alaska Highway community of Dot Lake, which are still blacked-out due to damage inflicted by high winds on Sunday.

Alaska Power and Telephone spokesman says about 300 homes were still without power as of Tuesday morning – and probably will be for the rest of the week in several areas around Tok.

AP&T spokesman Mark McCready says the utility has called in linemen from other communities around the state that it services to help replace numerous broken poles and repair other damage.

Many homes in the Tok area were nearly covered with trees blown down by Sunday's windstorm.
Credit Photo courtesy of Alaska Power and Telelphone

"We have two Haines linemen headed to Tok. We have one Skagway lineman headed to Tok, along with another truck.”  

(Noon Sept. 19 update: AP&T has restored power to nearly all of Tok. Work continues in Tanacross, Dot Lake.)

Meanwhile, despite blustery weather throughout this part of Alaska again Tuesday, residents are still cleaning up and repairing other damage from winds that in some areas gusted in excess of 70 miles an hour.

The Tanacross School’s roof is one of many that took a beating. Alaska Gateway School District Assistant Superintendent Scott McManus says the school is closed until the roof is repaired. He says its 10 students are now attending classes in the district’s main schoolhouse in Tok.

“They’re getting lunch and breakfast and they’re given classroom space and are being instructed by the same teachers that they would have out in the school,” he said.  

McManus says that he, like many other area resident, woke up Monday morning with a barricade of downed trees in his driveway, requiring him to haul out the chainsaw to get to work.

This snowmachine was slammed nose-first into the ground by Sunday's winds. Gusts exceeded 70 mph in some areas.
Credit Photo courtesy of Alaska Power and Telelphone

“We had to cut our way out of the driveway,” he said. “I probably had 15 trees down across the driveway. My power line was knocked down onto the driveway.”  

McManus grew up in the village of Ambler, in northwestern Alaska, so he says he’s no stranger to powerful storms. But he says Tok usually doesn’t get slammed with high winds like Sunday’s, so it took even him by surprise.

“I don’t have any idea how strong the gusts actually were, in terms of miles per hour, but y’know I’ve been in storms that were clocked and it was definitely – it was wicked.”