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Power outage hits north end of Flathead valley

By Adam Caira, Photographer/Reporter, acaira@kcfw.com
Published On: Mar 27 2014 02:22:08 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 27 2014 06:34:13 PM MDT
High winds leave thousands in Flathead-area without power

Power was knocked out briefly Thursday to the entire north end of the Flathead Valley, including Whitefish Mountain Resort, Whitefish and Happy Valley.

At the height of the outage the Flathead Electric outage viewer online showed 10,263 members without power.

According to Flathead Electric Communications Director Wendy Ostrom-Price, the outage started at about 1 p.m. with a problem with a switch on a transmission line that delivers power to Flathead Electric from the Bonneville Power Administration. The problem interrupted power to five Flathead Electric substations.

Crews worked to redirect some power from the Libby area. That switch caused some additional outages in the Libby and West Valley area because crews needed to shut down the power before they could make the switch.

Riley Polumbus, Public Relations Manager at Whitefish Mountain Resort tells us that the resort lost power, including to their ski lifts for less than an hour. The ski lifts were able to switch to backup power and unload all of the skiers. Once power was restored the resort at around 1:30 the resort was able to return to normal operations.

Ostrom-Price estimates that small outages will continue throughout the North Valley over the next several hours while Flathead Electric works with Bonneville Power Administration to correct the problem.