Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Oct. 19, 2021

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Power outages hit 20,000 in North, East Vancouver; Clark County declares state of emergency

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:

A series of Saturday-morning power outages knocked out power for about 24,000 customers Saturday morning, according to Clark Public Utilities.

As of 10:30 a.m., five separate outages were reported to hit nearly 24,000 homes. The causes of the active outages were unknown. Crews had already restored power to 6,316 homes.

Dameon Pesanti, spokesman for Clark Public Utilities, said a fault on a transmission line caused the outages, but crews don’t know the cause of it yet. The fault knocked out four substations in the Orchards area.

Crews are out patrolling a 5-mile stretch of line in the Orchards area to figure out where issues are originating.

“Service crews were sent out right away,” he said. “They’re rerouting the flow of power away from dead lines to secondary routes.”

During an outage, Clark Public Utilities recommends checking your neighbors’ houses, checking your electrical panel, reporting the outage at 360-992-8000 and also turning off all major appliances. Pesanti said to not call 911 to report outages.

“Early in the week, we anticipated this to be a major storm,” Pesanti wrote in an email to The Columbian. “So we started ramping up our crews and staging equipment days in advance. As of Thursday, we had 8 heavy crews of our own (big trucks geared for large repairs), 10 service crews, and 7 contract crews who were on hand until we released them Friday night.”

Update: As of 11:11 a.m., power was restored to almost 22,000 customers, and about 8,000 customers were still without power.

Update: As of 1:11 p.m., crews restored power to all but 359 customers.

County snowplows stuck

Clark County on Saturday morning declared a state of emergency for the Greater Clark County. Many roads, especially in Washougal, were too dangerous and unable to be used, the news release stated.

As of 6 a.m., six Public Works snowplows were stuck in deep snow and ice in the Washougal area, according to the news release. One vehicle was removed, and crews were attempting to recover the other five plows, according to a news release from Clark County Public Works.

“Our vehicles are equipped with chains and other safety measures to ensure they can traverse snow- and ice-covered roads,” said Public Works Director Ahmad Qayoumi in the news release. “This is a good reminder to the community that winter driving conditions are unpredictable and even the most prepared vehicles can have difficulty maneuvering through these conditions.”

Clark County is still under a storm warning, which lasts through 4 p.m. Saturday. Heavy snow and freezing temperatures are forecasted until Sunday.

This story will be updated.

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