Update: Cooperative Light and PowerRain, turning to ice, stuck on trees up to 2 inches thick in places. Each branch, a big icicle with little icicles hanging down. A winter wonderland, except it was March, and we were eagerly anticipating the April Showers that Bring May Flowers. Not this year. As the drizzle continued to come down, it would freeze to the already ice covered trees
By: Cooperative Light and Power, Lake County News Chronicle
Rain, turning to ice, stuck on trees up to 2 inches thick in places. Each branch, a big icicle with little icicles hanging down. A winter wonderland, except it was March, and we were eagerly anticipating the April Showers that Bring May Flowers. Not this year. As the drizzle continued to come down, it would freeze to the already ice covered trees. Once the weight of the ice got too heavy, the trees came down. One gentleman described his experience in the woods. “All is quiet, then all of a sudden, snap, crackle, THUD!”
The beauty of the great north woods was almost awe inspiring. Almost...until one of these beautiful trees came crashing down on a power line, taking with it the power to many homes. On Monday morning at 10:00 a.m., the phone started to ring. “Our power is out on the West Branch Road.” Then another call, “Larsmont is out” too. It was like a landslide. By 2:00 in the after noon, nearly half of our members were left without power. Outage calls were coming in from Knife River, outlying areas of Two Harbors, Clover Valley, Waldo, Brimson, Beaver Bay,
Finland, Little Marais and Isabella. And while all areas suffered from the storm, Finland and the surrounding areas were the hardest hit. Trees on the lines shorted out circuits in the Finland substation, knocking out everyone from Beaver Bay to Isabella. Power lines were dropped across roadways, tangled in an icy mess. CLP line crews were out in full force, but couldn't keep up with the dropping trees.
By Tuesday, our crew of 10 more than doubled with additional line crews from both Lake Country Power and the City of Two Harbors. Rhode Tree Service and Agate Electric also pitched in to help get the power back on. Meanwhile, makeshift shelters were set up at the arena in Silver Bay and the Beaver Bay Community Center to give those without heat or food a place to wait things out.
Wednesday, another 17 hours of 30 men headed out to clear trees off of lines. We were able to get over 1,000 people back on line, but were still fighting with the Finland area. One member calls in and tells us that of "all the time I have lived in Finland, I have never seen such devastation." Our line crews had hard work cutting down those trees, resetting poles and repairing power lines, but it was even harder to tell people with out heat, maybe tomorrow.
Thursday, crews headed out continuing work on Beaver Bay & Finland. By 4:00 a.m., all primary and secondary lines were on and holding. Friday, crews spent the entire day working on individual outages. Monday, by the time this newsletter went to print, the wireless internet equipment in Silver Bay and Finland were also damaged by the ice storm and we are hoping to have that up and all running by Wednesday, April 1st.