Heavy snow causes trees to break, power outages in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

Heavy snow causes trees to break, power outages in Craig

Erin Fenner
Trees throughout the city of Craig were weighed down by the snow Friday morning. Craig Parks and Recreation had dump trucks and trailers clearing the debris.
Noelle Leavitt Riley

Craig weather forecast:

The National Weather Service website calls for an 80 percent chance of precipitation in Craig on Friday with a high of 41 degrees. On Saturday, there's a 30 percent chance of snow in Craig before 8 p.m. The sun should pop out again Sunday.

— Snow hit Craig hard Thursday night, tearing into trees that pulled down power lines and caused power outages on the west side of town.

Yampa Valley Electric Association reported that since 8 p.m. Thursday, there had been about 1,000 customers who experienced power outages in the region, said Melissa Watson, manager of consumer accounts for YVEA, in a press release. Families and groups of homes scattered from Yampa to Baggs, Wyo., lost power because of heavy snowfall that caused branches and trees to fall on power lines.

“The guys have been out since 8 p.m. last night,” she said Friday about YVEA linemen who were sent to repair downed lines. Power outages “have been pretty sporadic.”

In another release at the end of the day, Watson reported more outages had happened during the day Friday, and individuals should not be surprised if they returned home from work to no power.

“Due to the nature of the individual outages, the expected restoration time remains to be on a case-by-case basis,” Watson said in the release.

The city of Craig also had a hard time with clean-up, said Dave Pike, director of Craig Parks and Recreation.

“We have lots of trees down,” Pike said. “Snow wasn’t as much of an issue as broken branches.”

The Craig Road and Bridge Department, responsible for the city clean-up efforts, still was cleaning debris as of 5 p.m. and could not be reached for comment about the extent of the cost or damage to the city.

The Moffat County Road and Bridge Department did not have as big an issue with trees, said Linda DeRose, the department manager. However, because of the softness of many county roads as a result of the snow, the department was not able to cover everywhere.

The snowfall caused such damage because it hit early in the season, Pike said.

“When you get an early snow and none of the leaves are off the trees, that’s the worst time to get a heavy, wet snow,” he said.

The majority of trees in Craig had not even begun to change colors by the time the snow hit, adding extra weight that some trees couldn’t handle. All across town, branches drooped low over streets or broke off and fell.

The yard at 728 Breeze St. was completely covered in downed limbs Friday morning. Two large trees in front of the house couldn’t stand up to the extra weight of the snow.

“Look at the size of those leaves,” said Nick Charchalis, father of homeowner Audrey Anna Charchalis, who was there helping clean up Friday afternoon. “Each of those was carrying a pound and a half of snow probably.”

Charchalis said the trees were due for a trim, but “nature took care of it.”

Janette Harris, who lived in a neighboring residence, said she had spent the entire day and missed work in order to clean up. A rental residence on one side of her home had a large trunk land on it and cause some damage, she said. There was a truckload filled with branches in front of the two residences and still a significant amount covering the ground as of 4 p.m. Friday.

“I hope it doesn’t get nasty again tonight because we can’t afford it,” Harris said.

The National Weather Service projected a minor chance of snow throughout the day Friday, but as of 5 p.m., no more had fallen.

The National Weather Service wasn’t able to comment on how much snow fell in Craig because the government shutdown requires that it only track and respond to emergency weather situations.

Moffat County High School experienced a power outage for a couple of hours Friday morning. Classes started on time, but students were allowed to come in late. The power returned to the school at about 9 a.m.

Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.

Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.

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