Power outages a strong possibility Wednesday

By Eric Florip and Paul Suarez


Updated: January 18, 2012, 10:43 AM


To report a power outage to Clark Public Utilities, call 360-992-8000.

Downed trees in Vancouver:

Among the other locations the city had received reports of downed trees by 10 a.m.:

Evergreen Highway, between 101st and 164th avenues

St John’s and Cherry roads

Fourth Plain Boulevard and Rossiter Lane

Northeast 94th Avenue and Northeast 54th Street

Southeast 151st Avenue off Southeast Norelius Drive

Southeast McGillivray Boulevard and Southeast Olympia Drive, where a tree was reported to be blocking one lane

Southeast McGillivray Boulevard and 136th Avenue

Power outages are a strong possibility for Wednesday as the country recovers from an overnight dumping of wet, heavy snow and strong winds are forecasted to move into the region later in the day.

Just under 1,500 people were without power around 3:30 p.m., according to the utility's power outage map. As many as 5,400 customers were in the dark at one point earlier in the day.

Many of the outages were reported in east and north parts of Clark County, said Erica Erland, utility spokeswoman. Crews expected to continue repairs into the evening as strong winds threatened to cause further problems later Wednesday evening.

Outages were caused by downed trees and branches on power lines.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, about 10 trees and large limbs had fallen in or along roadways since midnight in Vancouver, according to the city's public works department. All streets remained open, except on Northeast Andresen Road, where a fallen tree pulled down power lines and blocked southbound traffic between Mill Plain and MacArthur boulevards, according to the city.

Clark Public Utilities has 21 crews of three to five people on the road today, Erland said. The organization hired additional contract crews to help because of the weather.

The utility didn't give specific estimated times for power restoration.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen with the weather so we don’t want to make promises,” Erland said.

With thousands of Clark County residents already in the dark Wednesday morning, strong winds were expected to wreak further havoc by the afternoon. The National Weather Service has posted a wind advisory that includes much of the county and the Portland area, predicting sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph and gusts as strong as 45 mph.

That means even more downed trees, blocked roads and power outages are a possibility.

Winds should pick up by noon, with the most powerful winds happening in the afternoon hours, according to the weather service. But those conditions should subside by early evening. The wind advisory is in effect from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Crews are out trying to make repairs as soon as possible, but the utility is encouraging customers in rural areas to be prepared for the possibility of extended outages, spokeswoman Erland said.

Clark Public Utilities recommends residents have a home emergency kit ready to go in the case of a power outage. Kits should include non-perishable food, water and supplies needed to support a family for three days. Other recommended supplies are a flashlight, a battery-operated radio, a manual can opener, batteries and a first-aid kit.

The utility also says customers in an outage should turn off all electrical equipment, turn down thermostats and turn off the circuit breaker for water heaters. Refraining from opening the refrigerator and freezer door will keep the cold air inside. Leave a light on in rooms to indicate when power is restored.

To report an outage call 360-992-8000. The utility company might not know about an outage if it only affects a few customers.