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Bitter cold deepens; CEC restores Sisters-area power


The frigidly cold calm between snowstorms turned even colder across the High Desert Friday morning, again delaying some classes and slowing some school buses, while thousands in the Sisters area were hit by an untimely power outage — all this before more snowfall arrives over the weekend.

NewsChannel 21 viewers reported bitterly cold readings Friday morning, including William Sawders’ -27 degrees at the Wheeler Ranch subdivision, a half-mile east of downtown La Pine,. La Pine resident Steph Shaw-Gregory’s thermometer was even colder – at -28 — and Lisa Hefley’s car thermometer registered -30 by the La Pine Fire District station between La Pine and Sunriver, on Huntington Road off South Century Drive.

It plunged to -22 in sisters — a very bad time to lose power — and yet, 2,130 Central Electric Cooperative customers in the Sisters area lost service around 7 a.m. At CEC’s outage update Website, they warned of special cold-weather challenges to restoring power to large areas, all drawing power for heat, which can overload a circuit and blow fuses.

Crews working in the bitter cold were able to restore service to 839 affected CEC members before 9 a.m., leaving nearly 1,300 without power. Meanwhile, the co-op reported a separate outage affecting 64 members in the Tollgate subdivision due to an underground fault, as crews worked to find it and make repairs.

By 10:30 a.m., fewer than 500 members still were without power. Areas still affected at mid-morning included Highway 126 east of Sisters, George Cyrus Road, Goodrich Road, Holmes Road and Fryrear Road. “Crews are working to restore power to all members as quickly and safely as possible,” the utility said. The rest had their power restored by about 1:30 p.m.

Temperatures plunged to –9 Friday morning at both the Redmond and Madras airports, -4 at Bend Airport east of town, -13 at Warm Springs and zero at Prineville Airport

La Pine and Sunriver schools were put on a two-hour delay Friday morning, while the Sisters School District advised parents that school buses might be running a little late due to the extreme cold.

The North Lake School District in Lake County, reporting -15 to -26 temperature readings, was closed Friday due to “the impact on the safe operations of our buses,” said Superintendent/Principal David Kerr.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory for 10 a.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday, saying a new Pacific storm system moving ashore will bring another 2-4 inches of snow over much of Central Oregon.

There’s also a threat of freezing rain and sleet in the wintry mix, as well as rain at lower elevations Sunday as the temperature warms above freezing. The freezing rain threat lingers into Monday

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