Tuesday, February 07, 2023

A community that looks out for each other

by Daily Inter Lake
| December 25, 2022 12:00 AM

Even as temperatures plummeted to historic lows last week, there was still ample warmth radiating from our community.

Let’s start with the Flathead Electric Cooperative linemen. Not even minus 35F and wind chills much colder would stop these crews from doing all they could to get the lights and heat back on for the thousands of homes affected by an untimely outage.

Early Thursday morning, Bonneville Power Administration was notified that a piece of equipment at a Kalispell substation was no longer responsive to remote operations, which affected multiple feeders serving the area. Bonneville coordinated with Flathead Electric to reboot the system, but the back-up system failed, which led to the outage that lasted hours.

Meanwhile, outages unrelated to the equipment failure were affecting other areas in the Flathead and Swan valleys.

This set up a potentially deadly scenario with thousands of homes left without a heat source during the coldest of cold snaps to ever grip Montana.

Amazingly, a significant chunk of the outages were resolved by 2 p.m., with most of the others fixed by early evening.

To the crews who worked through the day and night, putting their own safety at risk to help others — thank you. Your heroic work undoubtedly saved lives.

Another ray of warmth amid the arctic blast came from the collaboration between two of Flathead County’s homeless shelters.

The Flathead Warming Center and the Samaritan House combined took in around 85 people over the two-day cold snap. Typically, the Warming Center is only open during the evening, but the hours were expanded with the severe weather.

Together, these organizations ensured everyone had a warm place to go — another life-saving effort.

Northwest Montana is a community that looks out for each other when times get rough, and efforts like these remind us of why we are proud to call this part of Big Sky heaven home.

All of us at the Daily Inter Lake wish you a warm and merry Christmas.

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