Snow Storm Brings Power Outages

Snow Storm Brings Power Outages

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- A lot of white put a big chunk of the state into the black.

The first significant snowstorm of the year brought with it power outages Thursday across parts of northern Utah, while the blame in the southern part of the state went to high winds.

About 930 residents or businesses were still without power as of Friday morning, said Utah Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen. That was a dramatic improvement over Thursday, when as many as 12,000 users were in the dark at one point.

Snow fell heaviest across northern Utah, where Smithfield reported about 9 inches, Wellsville had about 8 inches and Preston wound up with about 6 inches.

About 700 power customers in Millville and Providence were without power from for about an hour Thursday night. Another outage in Providence left almost 200 customers in the dark most of Thursday afternoon.

Such outages are common with the first snowstorm of the year, especially if it comes in October, Eskelsen said.

There are still many leaves on the trees in October, which tends "to produce tree and power line conflicts," he said.

Snow collects on the leaves, causing the weighted down trees to bough into power lines. That's besides broken limbs or downed trees that cause the same damage.

Eskelsen said another problem after such a dry spell -- the last significant moisture was recorded Oct. 3 -- is that insulators become dirty. When moisture gets in the insulators, it causes sparks and failure.

Another factor Thursday was about six traffic accidents on snowy roads that sent vehicles into power lines, he said.

Of the 12,000 customers without electricity Thursday, more than a third of those were located in Cedar City. About 4,400 customers didn't have power for about six hours after strong winds knocked down two major power poles.

Smith's grocery store had an employee at the front entrance turning customers away due to the outage, which rendered cash registers useless. Other businesses just closed for the day.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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