Crews working to restore services, clear trees after storm

March 17, 2020 GMT

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Crews in northwestern Montana expected to spend at least the rest of this week restoring services to customers and clearing hundreds of trees downed by a recent storm.

Thousands of people were left without electricity, phone and cable service Friday when wind gusts between 65 mph and 80 mph toppled trees onto utility lines, roads, vehicles and sheds, The Daily Inter Lake reported.

Officials said they can’t give a precise time when all services will be restored in the Flathead Valley, particularly in the Bigfork and Ferndale areas.

Zach Harms of Rocky Mountain Contractors said at least four crews are working and the job is expected to continue for the rest of this week, and maybe into the next.

“We have the main power back up in most of the spots at this point, but it may be another week or two until people have working phones and cable,” Harms said.

Kristy Pancoast of Ferndale said she and her husband were without power for 29 hours.

“It was pretty chaotic,” Pancoast said. “Of the three (wind storms) that we have had in the last few months, I think this one was the worst….My husband and I, we just sat here and we prayed.”

Whitefish Legacy Partners Director Margo Jadkowski said there are hundreds of trees down in the areas between Smith Lake and Swift Creeks. The organization is waiting for information from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation before moving forward.