Strong winds in Anchorage lead to power outages and downed trees

A birch tree is splintered where it is snapped in half at the base.
Winds were strong enough on Thursday afternoon to snap this birch tree at the base in Anchorage’s Airport Heights neighborhood. (Valerie Lake/Alaska Public Media)

Update, 12:30 p.m. Friday: 

Intermittent power outages continued across Anchorage Friday as high winds that started the day before toppled trees across the city.

Chugach Electric reported just over 1,700 households without power at around 12:30 p.m. Friday. So far, the outages are less than Thursday when, at one point, about 8,000 homes didn’t have power.

National Weather Service officials say winds should be calmer Friday compared to Thursday, which saw gusts as high as 70 mph near Potter Marsh. Friday’s forecast calls for south winds between 10 and 20 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph. 

Weather officials advise residents to avoid power lines and any trees touching them, and to secure loose items that could blow away in the wind.

Original story:

Strong winds on Thursday downed trees across Anchorage and knocked out power for thousands of residents.

The National Weather Service forecast had called for southeast winds to rapidly increase across the Anchorage Bowl by late morning, with gusts of 30 to 50 mph to continue through late afternoon, reaching up to 60 mph on the Hillside.

The wind came from the remnants of a tropical storm in the Pacific Northwest that moved across the Aleutian Chain and is heading toward Southwest Alaska, said National Weather Service meteorologist Christian Landry. 

“With higher pressure over the Prince William Sound area and low pressure over Southwest Alaska, that really drives higher winds to be pulled down through areas like the Turnagain Arm,” he said. 

As of 5 p.m., the highest recorded gust in the Anchorage area was around 70 mph near Potter Marsh, Landry said. The weather service had also recorded gusts just over 50 mph at Glen Alps and 46 mph at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

By this evening, Landry said, the winds will shift more south-southwest but remain in the 25 to 40 mph range through Friday.

“People are urged to secure loose objects that could be blowing around or damaged by the wind,” he said.

A neighborhood road with fallen trees laying in the road.
Two fallen trees crowd East 17th Avenue. (Valerie Lake/Alaska Public Media)

By early Thursday evening, officials with Chugach Electric said roughly 8,000 households had lost power, largely due to trees falling on power lines. The outages spanned from Mountain View and East Anchorage, south to Huffman and west to the Jewel Lake area.

Chugach officials advised residents not to touch downed power lines or the trees near them.

Strong winds were also forecast for the Palmer area Thursday, with gusts of 30 to 45 mph through the afternoon and then diminishing overnight. And on the western Kenai Peninsula, the weather service said wind gusts were expected to increase to around 45 mph Thursday afternoon, with potential for gusts of up to 55 mph overnight.

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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