An estimated 5,000 or more homes on the central Kenai Peninsula remained without power Wednesday after a night of wind damaged area transmission lines.
Homer Electric Association spokesman Joe Gallagher said outages were likely to continue throughout the day and into Thursday.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough announced Wednesday afternoon that a shelter was set up at the Kenai Armory on South Forest Drive for those needing a warm place to sleep. Cots will be set up, and Red Cross and members of the borough's Community Emergency Response Team will assist with the facility. Pets are not allowed, and people are asked to eat dinner before checking in, as food service is limited to sandwich items.
Temporary warming stations are also open at the Kenai and Nikiski Fire Stations, according to Eric Mohrmann from the Kenai Peninsula Borough's Office of Emergency Management. Anyone without power who needs to warm up can do so at the Kenai station, 105 South Willow, or either the Nikiski stations at Mile 17.9 and 26.7 of the Kenai Spur Highway. In a statement, Mohrmann said the borough may open emergency shelters depending on need.
As of 1 p.m., several areas were still without power, according to Gallagher. Crews were working to restore power, with eight additional lineman joining HEA's employees in repairs and power restoration efforts.
Some local schools are also without power. Kenai Peninsula College planned to close at 1 p.m., and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District reported that schools in Kenai and Nikiski are closed, with Soldotna schools open as usual. Sterling Elementary School was also closed.
The largest outage is in Sterling, where about 3,800 homes and businesses are without power from the HEA substation near Birch Ridge Golf Course east through Sterling.
Several areas in Nikiski were also without power. The Bernice Lake area north to the end of the Spur Highway had about 1,200 homes without electricity, South Miller Loop had about 500 homes without power, and the Island Lake/Pipeline Avenue area also had outages.
Another 500 homes on Ciechanski Road off on Kalifornsky Beach Road were without power, as was some of the Beaver Creek and Beaver Loop area.
New outages were still being reported throughout the day. Gallagher said that additional small outages throughout the day were possible.
Homer Electric Association restored power in downtown Kenai at 9:45 a.m. after repairing a damaged transmission line, according to Gallagher.
The Kenai outage started at about 3:15 a.m. when the Marathon substation near Walmart went offline. Nikiski started losing power Tuesday night.
According to HEA, people should not try to remove trees from power lines on their own. Anyone who is without power or spots a down line should report it to Homer Electric at 1-888-868-8243.