Strong winds and ice build-up on power lines cause outages in the state

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live)- The strong wind gusts we've been seeing are causing power outages for a number of people in North Dakota. Lines are snapping due to ice build-up.

As of an hour ago, Cass County Electric had 70 customers without power. Xcel Energy says they didn't have many major outages, just a few minimal power outages. And Dakota Valley Electric saw over 300 outages, all in the rural communities in SouthEast North Dakota.

Most these outages are because of the ice-wind combo on the power lines.

"The ice is an odd shape, a lot of times it acts like a wing on an airplane. So when the wind blows, it causes the conductor to fly up and down. What they call galloping situation," says Craig Rysavy, Dakota Valley Electric.

And with this galloping motion, transmission lines snap or it can break nuts and bolts.

But Xcel Energy says they've been taking extra measures to prevent that from happening.

"The big deal about the new lines we put in from the Twin Cities is that they're massive steel structures that should withstand anything short of a tornado," says Mark Nisbet, Xcel Energy.

Cass County Electric says they were also prepared for this storm.

"We design our lines to withstand a half an inch of ice and 40 mile an hour winds," says Steve Sjoberg, Cass County Electric Cooperative.

Xcel Energy says on average, a customer should only be out of power for an hour or so. Cass County Electric says crews are working quickly to restore customers who are without power. Dakota Valley Electric says they don't know when people's power will turn back on.

"I'm looking at the number of issues we have out there and it's going to be at least two days if not the third day," says Rysavy.

For a list of power outages in the community and when your power is expected to be back on, click the attached links.