MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Following a 24-hour storm of wet snow and high winds, power was knocked out across much of northwestern North Dakota.
Power outages in North Dakota began as early as Saturday, April 23.
At the peak of the outages, the Montana-Dakota Utilites Company had 1,800 customers without power. That number has been reduced to 1,500 as of Monday afternoon.
The storm caused challenges for power companies to reach the damaged power lines and poles and slowed down the recovery time in the impacted areas.
MDU Spokesperson Mark Hanson said the rain put a heavy coating of ice on power lines, then the wind brought the poles and lines down.
Most restoration works were delayed for 24 hours because of the weather.
“The snow and road conditions kind of put it to where it couldn’t be much progress, Saturday and early Sunday because roads were blocked, and our guys couldn’t get out. And we had to pull them Saturday night just for safety reasons,” said Hanson.
MDU has 15-20 crews working on restoring power right now, and they will bring more if needed.
Places with heavy damage will need to be completely rebuilt and are said to likely be completed next week.
The less damaged power lines are being repaired right now. They should be fixed by Wednesday afternoon.
“I think when we get down to that area where it’s damaged quite a bit, that number of crews should be enough to handle the work that’s there but we do have the ability to bring in additional help if needed as we kind of progress through the next couple of days,” said Hanson.
The most impacted area remains northwestern North Dakota.
Williams County Commissioners have declared a winter storm emergency.
Right now, the emergency operation plan offers shelter and assistance to those who may need it.
“This is an unprecedented event for Montana-Dakota Utilities. I don’t think we, no one has any memory of anything to this extent as far as damage and the extent of the damage. You know, we have hundreds of cross arms broken, miles of poles down and you know, some in some areas where it’s not easy to access, so it just, it takes time to be able to get in and get that work done,” said Hanson.
Power companies urge the public to stay clear of the fallen power lines, as some may still be live and dangerous.
Hanson says they have crews working around the clock that takes pride in getting power restored for the community.