BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Crews were working Sunday to restore power in northwest North Dakota after a blizzard driven by 60 mph winds took out all five major transmission systems serving the region.
More than 30,000 people and thousands of oil well sites were without power in the area and in eastern Montana following Saturday's storm, and more than two dozen communities suffered power outages, Williams County sheriff's Sgt. Det. Amanda McNamee told the Bismarck Tribune.
Scores of vehicles were stranded heavy, wet snow that piled up more than a foot deep, McNamee said.
Dale Haugen, manager of Williston-based Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative, said not one meter of 10,000 was turning in the two-county region Saturday night, a phenomenon he's never seen in his 31 years at the power company.
“We've never, never had all our meters out,” Haugen said.
A recorded message by the power company Sunday morning said outages were still widespread and crews were called out to repair damage.
Other rural electric cooperatives in the region also suffered power outages from the blizzard, Haugen said.
The blackout stopped production at most oil wells in the region, said Randy Samuelson, production superintendent for Brigham Oil and Gas in Williston.
McKenzie County Emergency Manager Jerry Samuelson said seven substations were knocked out in the county by the blizzard.
“It's crazy,” he said Saturday. “People are just stranded everywhere. The oil patch, everything gets shut down.”
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com