BETHEL, Alaska — Power has been restored after high winds ripped through coastal villages on Kuskokwim Bay in southwest Alaska, knocking out power lines, upending outbuildings and damaging rooftops.

Winds reaching 85 mph (137 kph) struck Quinhagak on Friday, killing power in about half the town for a day, KYUK-AM reported .

Power was restored in Quinhagak on Saturday night, said officials with the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative.

As the sun rose Friday, Mike Smith said he saw plywood flying around, cars sliding off the road, and smokehouses blowing apart. Damage to his property was contained to the shed, which had sections of tin roofing and wood siding torn off, the Quinhagak resident said.

In another area of town, Smith said a partially constructed home was ripped off its foundation and blown across the road, nearly hitting another house.

When the winds hit, John Hunter, manager of the Quinhagak fuel system, said he was talking on the phone with an employee. The employee was inside a shed next to the fuel pumps, and he told Hunter the shed was shaking.

Hunter said the wind then knocked down the shed with the employee trapped inside. Hunter sent a maintenance worker to free the employee.

“He picked him up, and he wasn’t hurt bad,” Hunter said. “I had him go to the clinic and get checked up, but he was OK.”

The wind damaged the fuel pumps, requiring the village to ration gasoline until it’s fixed.

Residents in the coastal community of Platinum reported minor damage with some homes losing power or having partial power.

“All the houses were rocking and rolling throughout the night,” said resident Daniel Adams. “We had a couple dishes in the kitchen fall over.”


Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

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