A new round of power outages strikes northeast North Dakota early Saturday morning
Every Nodak Electric Cooperative customer who reported a power outage following the thunderstorm Friday morning should have electricity now, Nodak assistant line superintendent Jay Raymond said Saturday morning.
"We got everyone back on last night, at 10 p.m., except for two people who volunteered to wait until morning," Raymond said, adding workers restored power for the two volunteers the next day at 6 a.m.
Alas, due to a second bout of lightening late Friday night and early Saturday, Raymond said about 600 customers are reporting a new round of outages, approximately 500 of these coming from the Grafton area.
"That I know of," Raymond added. "Lots of folks aren't home—maybe they took off, and maybe they don't realize they're without power."
Since the outages Friday night, Raymond said there have been three to four crews of Nodak employees restoring power since 6 a.m. Saturday morning. Many of those employees were also working the night before, until 10 p.m., Raymond said, restoring power customers lost during the first storm.
Between all the storms Thursday night through Saturday, Raymond said, Nodak received approximately 3100 outage reports across northeast North Dakota, the region Nodak serves. Nodak connects customers to electricity using substations owned by Minnkota Power Cooperative, Raymond said, each substation usually providing for whole neighborhoods of people.
After Friday, there are three damaged substations in Grafton that don't work.
"When you lose a substation, you've just lost a lot of people," Raymond said. While Nodak waits for Minnkota to repair said substations, Raymond said the most his workers can do is transfer the affected customers' power lines to a the next closest substation, a process Raymond said usually takes a couple of hours.
Nick Carletta, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, confirmed there were thunderstorms in the areas Raymond reported, although Carletta clarified they were less damaging than Friday morning's storms, which uprooted several trees at King's Walk Golf Course and left 2,000 Nodak customers in northeast North Dakota without power at one point.
"But you know, thunderstorms still have lightning," Carletta said of Friday night's weather, "which can still cause problems."
For the most part, Carletta said on Saturday that the region appears to be on a break from its recent intense weather activity. Most reports the weather service received Friday night, according to Carletta, were on wind damage and hail in central Minnesota, "down near Alexandria."
On Sunday, Carletta said the region will likely deal with the same storms, this time closer to the Canadian border. On Monday, he said the weather service expects activity in the Red River Valley and near Bemidji, Minn.
"We are in the midst of this period where we could have some pretty big storms," Carletta said. For Nodak, Raymond said, "this summer has been unusual," with more damage than in the past.
"We're a rural electric cooperative with a big footprint," Raymond said. "I mean, we've been handling reports from Hanford up to the Canadian border, from Devil's Lake to the Red River."
Raymond added Nodak workers don't usually work weekends, since they work Monday through Friday already on maintenance and construction.
"They did a tremendous job, working long hours to restore power."