2 Power outages in Sublette County Sunday
5800 customers without power
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
August 19, 2007
Two separate power outages on Sunday knocked out power to customers in Sublette County.
The first outage occurred around noon and affected customers north of Marbleton, and lasted until around 6:00 PM. Some residents north of Marbleton reported being without power, however people in Marbleton and Pinedale did not lose their power at that time. A recorded message on the Rocky Mountain Power hotline for one of the affected residences said the outage was due to problems with equipment and repairs were expected by 6:00 PM.
According to Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson Margaret Oler, the first outage affected approximately 133 customers. The cause was wind-related, taking spans of wire that were down that affected a single circuit. Repair crews repaired those down wires and power was restored, for about 30 seconds, around 6:00 PM, then went out again.
The second outage was much broader and took power down for customers in LaBarge, Boulder, Big Piney, Marbleton, Pinedale and surrounding areas. That outage lasted approximately an hour and a half. Power was restored around 7:30 PM.
According to Oler, the second outage affected approximately 5,800 customers. She said the second outage was completely unrelated to the first. It occurred in the transmission system affecting three substations all at the same time, in a completely different location from the first outage. They do not have any definitive cause for the second outage. She said they received reports of high winds at the time. “It is very unusual that it would happen so close together,” she commented.
The National Weather Service out of Riverton, Wyoming, issued a Red Flag Warning for southern and central Wyoming at 11:39 AM Sunday for from 2:00 PM until 9:00 PM for high winds and low humidities.
At 1:36 PM, the NWS Riverton Office issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton, Big Horn, Fremont, Hot Springs, Lincoln, Park and Washakie counties until 8:00 PM.
At 2:23 PM, NWS Riverton issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for north-central Sublette and northwestern Fremont Counties until 3:15 PM. They warned that Doppler Radar indicated a severe thunderstorm capable of producing damaging winds in excess of 60 miles per hour. At the time of the Warning, the storm was located seven miles northwest of Highway 352 mile marker 20, about 28 miles northwest of Pinedale. The storm passed over Green River Lakes, Union Pass and Dubois. NWS warned of the potential of damaging winds, large hail and deadly cloud to ground lightning. That warning expired at 3:15 PM.
At 3:45, NWS issued another Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Sublette and Fremont Counties. That warning was cancelled at 4:05 PM for Sublette County as that storm moved into Fremont County.
At 5:08 PM, NWS issued a Small Stream Flood Advisory for minor flooding in southern Teton County and northwestern Sublette County. Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms with heavy rain were beginning to move over Hoback Canyon, including Highways 189 and 191 from Hoback Junction to Bondurant. NWS warned of up to half an inch of rainfall possible in a short amount of time. “This rain is falling over already saturated ground from previous rain over the last couple of days. Although the storms are moving quickly, small stream flooding is possible this evening. In addition, some areas will have to be monitored for mudslides.
At 6:00 PM, NWS advised the Flood Advisory remained into effect for extreme south Central Teton County and northwestern Sublette County until 6:30 PM. “Doppler radar indicated that only light rain was occurring over Hoback Canyon, but runoff is continuing. This will cause small streams in the area to continue to rise. In addition, some areas of Hoback Canyon along Highway 189/191 could experience mudslides.
NWS allowed the Flood Advisory to expire at 6:30 PM for both Teton and Sublette Counties. “Rain has ended across Hoback Canyon and the Flood Advisory will be allowed to expire at 6:30 PM. However, travelers along Highway 189 and 191 in Hoback Canyon will need to be on the lookout for possible mudslides caused by the recent rain,” NWS advised.
NWS warns that most flood deaths occur in automobiles. “Never drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. Flood waters are usually deeper than they appear. Just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road. When encountering flooded roads, make the smart choice, turn around, don’t drown.” A Flood Advisory means river or stream flows are elevated or ponding of water in urban or other areas is occurring or is imminent.
On Friday night, four separate mudslides occurred in Hoback Canyon blocking Highway 191 and causing officials to close the road. One of the mudslides was described as four feet deep and as long as a football field. No one was reported injured in any of those slides. Highway crews had the highway reopened in just a couple of hours from those slides.
We are currently in a weather cycle that has a buildup of thunderstorms and scattered showers in the afternoons. Some storms could be severe, with large hail, damaging winds, cloud-to-ground lightning and heavy rain. This time of year, mornings are usually clear and sunshiny with the best and most calm weather for outside activities. Expect clouds to build up by around noon, often bringing afternoon thunderstorms.