Residents across northern Arizona continued to dig their way out of the snow following a Thanksgiving weekend storm that caused power outages and some flooding across the state.
The storm caused 28,000 residents to lose power across the state, according to Suzanne Treviño, a spokesperson for Arizona Public Service.
In Seligman, the power went out in the early hours of Friday morning and the final residents had power restored Sunday evening.
Carlie Solberg, a resident of Seligman who works at Delgadillo's Original Route 66 Gift Shop, said the community had been without water since Saturday evening. Solberg said the power outages prevented the community water system from being able to operate.
John Kennedy, who lives in Seligman working for the Aubrey Water Company, said they were able to return water to the community at about 4 a.m. on Monday.
After the power was returned Sunday evening, Kennedy said they were then able to restart the pumps that bring water into the community’s tank for distribution.
He said he had not been able to sleep much during the weekend while the community was without water. But even so, Kennedy said after they got the water back on, he sat and watched the faucet run for a time before getting some rest.
In response to the power outage in Seligman, the Red Cross opened a “warming center” in the Seligman Public School’s gym on Saturday, said Frank Bourget, executive director for the Northern Arizona Chapter of the Red Cross.
The center housed two people overnight, Bourget said, and was closed on Sunday morning.
Before water was restored, Soldberg said she was using bottled water while others who noticed less water coming out of the taps were able to fill some containers.
Soldberg said on Saturday night she heated water on the stove and taught her 9-year-old daughter, who wanted to wash her hair, how to take a sponge bath. Otherwise, Soldberg said her daughter has been loving all the snow they have received, and especially enjoyed sledding.
Soldberg, who grew up in Seligman, said she has never seen this much snow in the town.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Justin Johndrow said Seligman normally receives about 10 inches of snow in a year. The storm brought between 10 and 13 inches of snow to the city, according to the weather service.
In the early hours of Friday morning, the storm caused flooding and temporarily knocked out power to Supai Village, according to the Havasupai Tribal Council.
Although no one was injured, about two and a half feet of water flooded the campground and forced hundreds of campers to higher ground in the middle of the night.
Johndrow said the flood occurred at 2:45 a.m. on Friday morning and was caused by the rain that preceded the snowstorm.
Mandy Kristin of Marshfield, Wisconsin hiked down with her family the previous morning and was one of those camping when the flooding occurred.
Kristin said her brother was the first to wake up when he realized water was flowing only a few inches below the hammock he was sleeping in, and that one of his boots had already been washed away.
With the water rising, Kristin said they all jumped into their gear, moving their camp to higher ground and warning nearby campers. Soon, Kristin said it was clear the entire camp had been warned of the flooding as she could see the headlamps of campers throughout the area.
Kristin said one man in particular went into “first responder mode” and traveled through the camp warning as many people as he could before hiking to Supai Village to warn its residents of the flooding as well.
“He probably saved dozens of lives,” Kristin said.
Nonetheless, many campers could only be warned with moments to spare and Kristin said many lost tents and gear, which were all washed downstream.
The storm also knocked out power to Supai Village, although it was restored Sunday morning, according to the Tribal Council.
The storm made traveling to and from Supai Village difficult as the upper switchbacks of the trail were icy, preventing pack animals from using them and helicopter service was impossible. As such, the Tribal Council advised campers not to hike out, although several campers, including Kristin and her family, hiked out on Friday.
Those campers who had lost their gear and tents in the flooding stayed in community buildings in Supai Village on Friday night, according to the Tribal Council.
Treviño said APS had all hands on deck restoring power to communities across the state, but the storm made it difficult. In some cases, the weather prevented APS from getting vehicles or equipment out to downed lines and left maintenance teams to do much of the work manually.
In one instance where a power pole had come down, conditions prevented APS from getting a pole digging machine to where it was needed, so maintenance workers had to dig a hole for the new pole by hand. At other times, APS workers have had to snowshoe out to where lines were down as the roads were impassable, Treviño said.
This meant some residents had to go without power for longer than APS would like, Treviño said.
Adrian Skabelund can be reached at the office at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (928) 556-2261 or on Twitter @AdrianSkabelund.
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