Wind Storm Update: Power Restoration Efforts and Storm Response Continues
(Long post, but contains info on current outages, sheltering, brush disposal, food safety, and response)
October 5, 2018 – Last night's heavy, wet snowfall has added to the number of downed trees after roads were fully opened yesterday. The Cook County Highway Department resumed operations at 05:30 this morning, beginning with plowing roads and continuing tree clean up along County roads. Any reports of trees blocking county roads can be reported to the Highway Department at 387-3014 during regular business hours (Monday through Friday until 4:30 pm) or after hours reported to Dispatch (non-emergency 218-387-3030 or 911 emergency).
Work to restore all power across the County as well as clearing downed trees continues today. Line crews from both Arrowhead Electric Co-op Inc. and Grand Marais Public Utilities Commission began working on lines at 7 am.
Arrowhead Electric has responded to outages up the Gunflint Trail, and crews are still working in the Colvill area. Today’s wind and rain has not aided the restoration process. Crews continue to work safely and diligently. County Road 14 and the Linnell Road areas have now been restored. Crews are currently working in the White Sky and Cliff Cove areas. There are still several singular outages active which are next in dispatch order. Crews will continue to work as long as safely possible and necessary. Please be advised that off-peak heating members can freely charge for the remainder of today.
If you are experiencing an Arrowhead power outage, please let them know: 218-663-7239 or 800-864-3744 – staff will be in office for some time, before phones roll-over to the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch. For assistance with broadband outages please call: 218-663-9030 or 877-602-7769.
The Grand Marais PUC currently has five properties that do not yet have power on Grace Drive and should be reconnected simultaneously by the end of the day. If the Grace Drive area goes quickly, one remaining location on Old Shore Road back on today as well, if it is not reached today, it will be online as early as possible tomorrow.
Cook County Public Health & Human Services opened an emergency shelter location at the Cook County YMCA last night, on Thursday, Oct. 4; however, no residents utilized the shelter nor calls were received to request shelter assistance. If anyone in the County who remains without power requires shelter for tonight, please contact the Public Health & Human Services shelter manager at 218-387-5394 or if you need emergency assistance, call 911.
Food Safety During and After a Power Outage
Here are basic tips for keeping food safe. When the Power Goes Out . . .
1. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
• The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
• A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
2. Buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out
for a prolonged period. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep an 18-cubic foot, fully stocked freezer cold for two days.
3. If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish, or eggs while they are still at safe temperatures, it is important that each item is thoroughly cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to ensure that any foodborne bacteria that may be present are destroyed. However, if at any point the food was above 40º F for 2 hours or more (or 1 hour if temperatures are above 90 º F) — discard it.
Once Power is Restored . . .
Determine the safety of your food:
1. If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check the temperature when the power comes back on. If the freezer thermometer reads 40° F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen.
2. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can’t rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40° F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook.
3. Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours and the refrigerator door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or leftovers) that has been at temperatures above 40° F for two hours or more (or one hour if temperatures are above 90º F).
Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and eggs that are not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause illness if consumed, even when they are thoroughly cooked.
Additional resources for food safety:
• Minnesota Dept of Health - https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/food-safety.html
• FDA - Food Safety during & after power outages - https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm076881.htm
• Red Cross – Food Safety in Emergencies - https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/food-safety.html
• CDC – Food & Sanitation in Power outage – https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/poweroutage/needtoknow.html
Wood debris from residential downed trees can be brought to any of the Firewise Brush Disposal Sites. Disposal sites are for the disposal of clean vegetation material only. Please no stumps, root systems, demolition material, lumber, sheet goods or other unnatural materials. Place load onto main pile - please do not create additional piles. Everyone’s cooperation is appreciated.
Firewise Brush Disposal Sites are located at:
• Caribou Trail west of Evergreen Road
• Cascade Bluffs Road off Pike Lake Road
• 224 Ball Club Road
• 1748 Shoe Lake Road
• Gunflint Trail near Gunflint Narrows Road (Past N Gunflint Lake Rd, but before Gunflint Narrows Rd)
• East Bearskin Road
• Horseshoe Bay Pit 5341 E Hwy 61
A map of Firewise Brush Disposal Sites can be found on the County’s website in the MAPPing section.
Cook County is initiating a State Emergency Declaration to assist with cost recovery. The Office of Emergency Management is working with Minnesota Homeland Security & Emergency Management on the declaration and performing damage assessment with local partners, jurisdictions and response agencies.
Contact: Valerie Marasco, Director – Office of Emergency Management & Public Information, 218-387-5366 or firstname.lastname@example.org