REEDSPORT — The storm which hit the southern Oregon coast on Friday, Dec. 14 caused power outages and severe weather for drivers on the roads.
In a series of press releases from Douglas Electric Cooperative, Todd Munsey announced that rural Douglas County lost power after strong winds blew through. Before noon, Munsey said that crews were dispatched, but “it will be a long day.”
“Heavy winds have caused outages in the Reedsport, North Tenmile Lake, Camas Valley and Tenmile areas,” Munsey wrote in an update that afternoon. “Approximately 1,600 members are without power and crews have been dispatched to investigate.”
Before power was restored, Munsey announced as many as 2,300 homes went dark in Douglas County.
Power was finally restored around 10:30 p.m., with the exception of the coast.
“A crew will be assembled to address that in the morning,” he said Friday evening. “It has been a long day… one that continues for many folks who are still working outages. We appreciate everyone’s patience, especially given the cold temperatures.”
The Friday storm caused havoc for many on Friday. As The World previously reported, according to the North Bend Police Department's 911 dispatch, traffic lights on Highway 101 near the Mill Casino-Hotel went dark for an extended period.
"We've been getting several 911 calls and have had officers radioing in that trees and power lines are down and traffic lights aren't working," said Holly Borras, 911 dispatcher with NBPD. "We're trying to get a hold of who we need to get things working again."
Coos County Sheriff’s Office reported that weather closed down Powers Highway for some time, as well as a brief closure of Highway 42S.
“The winds are just knocking trees down left and right all over the whole county, there are a lot of power lines down,” said Capt. Gabriel Fabrizio with the Coos County Sheriff’s Office.
Fabrizio suggested folks stay out of the weather if possible. Those on the road should slow down, keep a safe distance between cars, avoid using cruise control, and slow down on curvy roads.
“The best thing is to stay home, unless you need to go out," he said. "With the downed trees and the downed power lines with standing water it's best to just stay inside if you can."
According to Pacific Power, the windy weather caused roughly 6,600 power outages in Coos County.
“They’re continuing to have new outages reported minute by minute,” said Tom Gauntt, spokesperson for Pacific Power.
Pacific Power has an outage map on its website that updates every 15 minutes.
Until the weather subsides, and Pacific Power can properly investigate outages, there is no clear answer as to when power will be restored.
“It’s going to be a while before we know," Gauntt said. "Once the wind has stopped and they’re able to assess things fully then they’ll be able to get handle on what order to fix them."