Working in brisk cold and sometimes in the dark, Klickitat Public Utility District line crews from both White Salmon and Goldendale were kept scrambling last week. From late Thursday through almost the entire day Friday, the crews were busy restoring electricity to customers throughout the area.
High winds and rain-saturated grounds were the primary culprits in the series of outages. The winds knocked down many trees, snapping power lines and leaving hundreds of PUD customers in the dark.
"Power outages started occurring in the middle of the night, and are continuing this morning (Friday)," explained Kathy Loveland, an executive assistant in the PUD's Goldendale office.
Loveland said the outages stretched from the east part of Klickitat County to the White Salmon area.
At the height of the wind-spawned disruptions, about 1,800 county residents were without electricity.
"Lots of trees are still coming down," Loveland said early Friday. "There are also repairs to do in the BZ/Glenwood road area, and the Oakridge/Rattlesnake area in Husum."
The problems PUD crews encountered were numerous. Calls back and forth from the PUD headquarters and workers on the line crews demonstrated the problem.
"We've got eight trees on the line, and wire down on the Laurel tap," said one of the linemen working to restore power. "The wind is still blowing pretty good here in Glenwood."
A spokesperson in from the PUD office said the Laurel tap was a distribution line that serves customers south of Glenwood.
"The winds toppled trees like dominoes," said Robbie Cacy, a PUD operations assistant in the Goldendale office. "Those northeast winds, they'll do that to you."
At about 3:40 p.m. Friday, the power was turned back on in Glenwood, but those on the BZ-Glenwood Highway were not restored until early on Friday evening.
As of Tuesday, PUD crews were still clearing fallen brush from around power lines throughout the area.