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May 6, 2013
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Storm knocks out power to Glide residents for 13 hours

GLIDE — A storm-caused power outage that lasted overnight closed all three Glide schools today.

At 7:05 p.m. Sunday, a transmission structure near the North Umpqua River feeding the Glide substation failed as a result of severe winds and lightning, knocking out service to 2,405 Pacific Power customers in the Glide area.

Power had been restored to all but 294 customers by 8:09 a.m. today. As of 11 a.m., it was restored to all but three customers, according to Monte Mendenhall, regional community manager for Pacific Power.

But at 6 a.m., it wasn’t clear when power would return to the Glide area, and the district alerted parents classes would start after a two-hour delay, Superintendent Steve Dickenson said.

The decision to shut Glide schools was made at about 7:50 a.m., after Pacific Power pushed its estimate from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Dickenson said.

The estimate had been pushed back multiple times overnight, which factored into the district’s decision, Dickenson said.

“There just wasn’t enough credibility in the estimates,” Dickenson said.

Dickenson said the schools can run educational programs without power, but not lunch programs.

“It was a matter of feeding the kids,” he said.

It was the first closure of the school year for the Glide School District. Dickenson said it’s unusual to make it through fall without taking at least one snow day.

Beginning at about 4 p.m. Sunday, Southern Oregon was pounded by an unstable high-energy system that rolled west from the Cascade Mountains to the coast, according to Shad Keene, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Medford.

“The typical pattern is south to north in sunny conditions,” Keene said. “But yesterday it was east to west.”

Winds reached 50 mph in the Cascade Mountains. Klamath, Jackson and Josephine counties saw intense storms, Keene said.

“It seems like Douglas County got the most,” he said.

Keene said lightning and moderate to heavy rainfall are also expected this afternoon.

Mendenhall said the utility’s response to the damaged power structure was hampered by its proximity to the North Umpqua River.

“Because it’s at a river crossing, it complicated things,” Mendenhall said.

Anthony Wilson, owner of Idleyld Trading Post and Liquor, said it was the longest he’s been without power in the 20 years he’s lived in the Glide area.

Overnight, Wilson ran a backup generator to keep his cash registers and gas pumps online, but he still lost at least $200 worth of ice cream.

“I was kind of nervous. I knew I was going to lose some ice cream. Ice cream is usually the first thing to go.”

The school closure will not affect a meeting of the district’s budget committee planned for 7 p.m. tonight at the district office.

• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at gandrews@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated May 6, 2013 02:30PM Published May 7, 2013 10:25AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.