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Published January 01 2011

Many endured storm without power, water

Donna Myers and her husband, Galen, used the wood-burning stove in their three-season attached room to heat their Amenia, N.D., house Thursday night.

“We have a generator, but it wouldn’t start, of all days,” she said. “My husband’s working on it now, in case (the electricity) goes tonight again.”

Power was restored Friday morning to 73 Amenia customers who lost electricity Thursday and hunkered down overnight with blizzard conditions and sub­zero temperatures outside.

Otter Tail Power crews, who had to turn around Thursday because of blizzard conditions, arrived Friday and restored power between 8:30 and 9 a.m., company spokeswoman Cris Kling said.

Kling said a thrown breaker that wouldn’t hold when reset Thursday – apparently because of ice – held Friday morning, so it was a relatively simple fix.

About 10:15 a.m., the company took an outage on purpose to repair a 115 kilovolt transmission line. The repair was made, and power was restored only to go out again, leaving the cities of Amenia, Casselton and Mapleton and the Tharaldson Ethanol Plant without power.

Power was restored to all of the cities by 5 p.m., but the ethanol plant was bracing to be without power overnight Friday, Kling said.

Myers said she and her husband took turns stocking wood into the stove, which they even used to heat up a kettle of barbecued pork for supper.

By 6 a.m., the temperature in the house had dropped to 55 degrees, she said.

“We didn’t mind it at all, because we were nice and warm in our back room,” she said.

Myers, 71, a former mayor of Amenia, said the town also was without water because power outages affected a pumping station.

Still, she said, the outage “wasn’t all that bad.”

“We’ve been used to it, because in ’97, we were without power for a week. So we’re kind of seasoned,” she said.

Xcel Energy had 930 customers without power, mainly in north Fargo, at 6 a.m. Friday. Power was restored to all but 50 or 60 customers a half hour later, but more problems arose during the day.

Crews from St. Cloud, Minn., arrived in the Fargo-Moorhead area Friday morning in time to help restore an outage leaving about 1,000 homes without power during the day.

Reports of outages began when ice-coated lines galloped and slapped together Thursday in the strong winds, Xcel spokeswoman Bonnie Lund said in a news release.

Crews were dealing with broken cross arms, downed wires and other damaged equipment throughout the night, she said. At one point, more than 3,900 customers were without service.

By about 5 p.m., most of the outages had been restored.

“We were just able to restore service to a large portion of north Fargo,” Lund said in an e-mail. “About 125 customers now remain without service. These outages are scattered in the metro area and in Glyndon, Minn.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528