UPDATED: YVEA warns members that outages could extend overnight; Routt County opens Community Center for those in the dark

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 7 p.m. to add information about a warming center set up at Steamboat Springs Community Center, when it may close and updated outage numbers.

7 p.m. – The warming center at Steamboat Springs Community Center will remain open until at least 9 p.m. and longer if people without power show up in need of warmth. If no one shows up to use it, it will close at 9 p.m., according to Yampa Valley Electric Association spokesperson Carly Davidson.

6:30 p.m. – Routt County Emergency Management has opened a warming center at Steamboat Springs Community Center for those who may need to wait until Thursday, Dec. 29, to have their power restored.

As of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, just over 50 homes in Yampa Valley Electric Associations’s service area were still without power, with all but six of those being in the Steamboat Springs area. The storm, which has brought heavy, wet snow to the Yampa Valley has impacted as many as 5,200 of the co-op’s customers.

Crews that had been working overnight needed to rest Wednesday afternoon, which led the power provider to warn customers they may need prepare to be without power overnight. Late Wednesday, crews from the White River Electric Association in Meeker were on their way to Steamboat to help local crews restore power.

3:15 p.m. – Yampa Valley Electric Association is asking members that are still without power to be prepared for outages to extend overnight, according to YVEA spokesperson Carly Davidson.

The co-op is sending emails and phone calls to customers impacted to warn them of the extended outage, which Davidson said because crews have been working all night and need to rest.

“Our crews are working to restore power in your area, but as they have been working all night, many of our crews need to now go on rest,” the message to members says. “We are asking members currently without power to plan for an overnight outage.”

About 200 customers in the Steamboat Springs area are still without power at 3:15 p.m.

The message says members should prepare with an “outage safety kit,” that would include water, non-perishable food items and ways to stay warm. The message suggests members could charge phones and warm up at their local library.

If members are unable to make alternative plans, YVEA asks they call them at 970-879-1160 as soon as possible to work with Routt County Emergency Management for assistance.

“There is a possibility power will be restored before tonight, but we need members to plan for a night without power,” the message says.

1:40 p.m. – U.S. Highway 40 will close in both directions at 2 p.m. to allow Yampa Valley Electric Association to replace a downed power pole. The closure is expected to last 90 minutes. Read more here.

About 250 people in the Steamboat Springs service area remain in the dark.

12:45 p.m. – Most homes in North Routt County once again have power as Yampa Valley Electric Association works to fix down lines across the county, including one near Clark.

After having as many as 1,100 homes without power earlier in the day Wednesday, Dec. 28, that number is now around 350. About 320 of those are in the Steamboat Springs service area.

11:15 a.m. – About 500 homes are still dark as Yampa Valley Electric Association continues to work to restore power to homes across Routt County. Most outages are in the Steamboat Springs and Clark service areas.

Snow has stopped falling in Steamboat for now, but the National Weather Service in Grand Junction is forecasting more through the day, with things tapering off around 10 p.m.

Original Story: The Yampa Valley Electric Association is working to restore power to about 1,000 customers, as heavy snow has knocked down power lines in several parts of Routt County.

There isn’t a clear timetable for when power might be restored, and it is possible that more people will lose service through the day as snow continues to fall, according to YVEA spokesperson Carly Davidson.

“Unfortunately, it is a bit of Whac-A-Mole today,” Davidson said. “We’re able to restore power to one portion, and then because of this heavy snow, we lose other people.”

As of 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, YVHA’s outage map showed 1,004 members without power, though the numbers are changing as the association restores power to some and others lose their connection.

The co-op has 12 crews out working to repair as many as 40 issues across its service. YVEA has reached out to local contractors to see if they can help as well. Davidson said she couldn’t say whether all power would be restored on Wednesday as snow is continuing to cause issues.

There are at least three power lines down around the county, with one near Riverside Plaza, another off of Routt County Road 48 north of Milner and another by County Road 62 near Clark. Davidson said these lines often take about three hours to fix, but individual situations can vary.

“It varies depending on how easily accessible it is to the pole,” she said. “Do we have to bring out snowmobiles or anything like that? There’s, unfortunately a lot of factors that go into it.”

Beyond snow on lines, Davidson said the snow has weighted down a lot of trees, and that could cause further issues throughout the day.

Nearly 800 of the outages are in the service area that includes Steamboat Springs, impacting about 5% of customers in the area. Another 110 customers are out of power in the 80428 area code of North Routt. The lights are out for a few customers farther north in Wyoming as well.

Davidson asked that customers call YVEA if they lose power. She recommended that people prepare for potential extended outages by bundling up, closing blinds and taking other steps to keep heat in their homes.

“We’re super thankful for the plow drivers out there right now because they are allowing us to get around safely,” Davidson said. “We really ask all members drive safely because the roads are pretty rough right now.”

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