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Heavy winds knock out power in Douglas County

December 15, 2018

Lights out, Douglas County.

Thousands of people are without power as strong afternoon winds are throwing debris into roadways, pushing over trees and knocking down power lines. Even a stretch of Interstate 5 southbound, between milepost 124 and 127, was backed up because of a hazard on the road.

According to the National Weather Service, wind gusts reached 43 mph Friday afternoon at the Roseburg Regional Airport.

More than 12,000 Pacific Power customers in Douglas County are without power, as are approximately 2,300 Douglas Electric Cooperative customers in Reedsport, Tenmile, Camas Valley and areas in north county.

Todd Munsey, a spokesman with the Douglas Electric Cooperative, said there is no estimate for restoration at this time.

“Crews have been dispatched, but it will be a long day,” he said.

The winds blew so hard they downed a large oak tree onto Jeannie Hagstrom’s 1895 historic home off Keasey Street in Roseburg and broke a gas line.

“I was inside cleaning, wrapping curtains, doing my thing. I heard the wind first, like a hurricane. The electricity went out, then I heard this huge crackling big boom. I thought it was in the sky but it was a tree,” Hagstrom said.

A few minutes later she saw the limbs in the backyard falling, and then went out to the front yard and there she saw the tree had fallen. She also smelled and heard the gas spewing out. She called 9-1-1 and Avista, grabbed her Papillon Pomeranian dog Casey and went to the neighbor’s house.

She also called her daughter Jennifer Pierson who lives at Newton Creek. But Pierson said it wasn’t easy to get there.

“All the traffic lights were out for like 45 minutes, and she kept calling me, and I can’t answer my phone while I’m driving so she was kind of worried about me,” Pierson said.

Pierson described what she saw when she arrived.

“Just as she described it actually, a big oak tree fell on her roof and knocked her gutters off, gas was hissing everywhere and I saw the firetruck. I knew she was safe down here at the neighbor’s house,” Pierson said.

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