Strong winds and bitter cold temps cause downed trees and frozen pipes in Skagway Wednesday night | KHNS Radio
Extreme winds and cold temperatures continue to keep Skagway under control. There were reports of fallen trees and branches, frozen pipes and broken windows after wind chills dropped to nearly 40 below zero on Wednesday night. The weather has also caused delays in the delivery of cargo to local dealers.
The National Weather Service in Juneau measured wind speeds of up to 56 knots at Skagway Airport on Wednesday evening.
“That’s 64 mph,” said Meteorologist Pete Boyd. He also said the winds might calm down at the beginning of the weekend, but another large system is expected to sweep the area by Sunday.
“First, we will start to see warm temperatures. Second, we will see a significant amount of snow moving in Skagway. But we also see the wind picking up again. So in gusts back to 40, probably 80 mph while the systems are moving, ”Boyd said.
Alaska Marine Lines is the company that unloads and delivers cargo to the city. But Lee McKinney of AC Fairway Market says they tried to offload the grocery store’s cargo on Wednesday and Thursday to no avail.
“It’s not just the wind, but I understand that the extreme cold is devastating the equipment,” said McKinney.
He said AML uses a pass-pass system where there is one forklift on the barge and another on land. The two operators transport freight between themselves. But between equipment problems, strong winds and rough seas, the barge remains moored and nothing was unloaded until Thursday afternoon.
“I want you to be safe, I mean, it’s freight, it’s important. I want it in the store so I can sell it. But I don’t want anyone to get hurt, ”said McKinney.
An AML representative declined to comment directly on the item, but said the barge will not leave Skagway until it is unloaded.
Laura Mabee lives in a rented apartment on the second floor in the middle of the city. She says it’s an older, drafty house and those drafts caused the pipes to the water heater to freeze.
“It went pretty quickly and the space heater was actually right next to it. Maybe within inches, ”said Mabee.
She said she moved her bedroom to the living room on Wednesday night.
“It’s a pretty nice nest in front of my Toyo that I made with lambskins and all of my bedspreads. I brought about 10 pillows into the living room and decided to sleep on the floor right in front of my heater, ”Mabee said said it sounded like an earthquake all night.
Lee Thompson lives in a cabin on the north side of Skagway, in addition to the wind-torn material on his brand new metal post and fabric carport, the noise he made didn’t allow him much rest on Wednesday night.
“Loud bangs, falling branches. I heard a few things hit the roof of the house. And it kind of made me question the structural integrity of the house I live in, ”Thompson said.
Neither the Skagway Fire Department nor the police reported emergency calls overnight, but DOT crews cleared a poplar tree that fell on Dairy Drive at the north end of town Thursday morning. More trees were spotted on Seven Pastures and scattered branches combined with large drifts of snow across the city.
Skagway residents are used to strong winds and cold temperatures, but most get restless when that cold spell finally passes.
A strong wind warning is in effect until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, a wind chill warning is in effect until 12:00 p.m. Friday, and a winter storm warning is issued for Sunday through Monday.