Minnesota Power Calls In Outside Resources; Power Outages To Last Through Sunday

DULUTH, Minn. –  Minnesota Power held a press conference Friday afternoon to update the media and public on its continued efforts to restore power to thousands of customers on the 4th day since the two-part winter storm moved into the Northland.

As of 7:30 p.m. Friday, Minnesota Power reported under 3,000 customers still in the dark, which was down from the 11,000 Friday morning and the nearly 20,000 reported at the height of the storm.

Officials said Friday that crews are continuing to deal with trees falling into powerlines because of the heavy, wet snow on trees near those lines.

About 70 additional lineworkers have been called in to help Minnesota Power, which includes crews from Kansas City Power and Light.

The hardest hit areas for Minnesota Power are from Crosby to Walker and from Cloquet to Hinckley.

Power officials said crews are facing unprecedented challenges reaching down lines — whether that’s getting vehicles through piles of snow or cutting through downed trees.

And while significant progress has been made, customers still in the dark are being asked to prepare to stay in the dark until Sunday night.

“Whether that’s staying with family and friends, finding a place that has power, getting some place that has power, getting someplace that’s warm safely, providing additional heat into your home, using those secondarily heat sources — providing for your family at this time – protect your family,” said Josh Goutermont, the director of grid operations at Minnesota Power.

“We appreciate everybody’s patience. This is obviously a difficult multi-day event, but we are mobilized very well and I believe we are in the position to execute over the coming days and ensure we can get everybody’s lights back on,” said Dan Gunderson, vice president of transmission and distribution at Minnesota Power.

Contractors have also been called in to use long-armed chainsaws known as “giraffes” to proactively cut any trees dipping close to power lines before they might snap.

For the latest on power outages and other related resources, log on to mnpower.com.

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