Valier residents experienced an unexpected power outage Thursday morning, Nov. 5, as high winds knocked out power to most of the Town of Valier.
The school buildings lost power and a message went out via the Remind App at 6:24 a.m. informing residents through texts and emails that school was cancelled for the day. The rest of the town lost power shortly thereafter.
According to NorthWestern Energy, “the crew made a repair to a substation and restored service” around 9:30 a.m. Local businesses reopened by mid-morning.
Wind warnings from the National Weather Service are not to be ignored. Gusts neared 70 mph that same day while sustained winds of over 40 mph blew most of the day. In addition to the power outage and the usual debris from broken limbs and branches, Valier residents witnessed overturned campers, patio furniture in diverse places, and tipped over basketball standards.
Valier High School incurred damage to the roof over the office and foyer area of the building. Large portions of the membrane blew off and were left hanging through the pergola over the main entrance to the school.
According to Valier Schools Superintendent Ju-lie Gaffney, the damage was not as bad as it appeared. Maddox Roofing of Great Falls was on site quickly to assess the damage, but wind conditions proved too dangerous for work to begin immediately. The roof was secured, and plans were made to do the repairs Nov. 6 before the weekend’s forecasted winter storm.
School resumed Friday morning with precautions taken to keep students and staff safely away from the work area.
Gaffney offered this update early afternoon on Friday, Nov. 6. “They have secured the membrane and will come back, weather permitting, to apply additional adhesive. The damage was assessed yesterday, and it was determined that repairs could start today after dawn. There were no leaks into the building. Maddox Roofing has always responded quickly to our roofing emergencies and general repairs. They are professional, prompt, and thorough.”
With winter storm watches occurring more often due to the time of year, residents are reminded to secure belongings that may be blown over, have plenty of food storage and fuel on hand, reduce unnecessary travel, and where possible prepare with an alternate heat source.
In the event of another power outage, emergency contact information for NorthWestern Energy is (888)467-2669.