Rare April snowstorm knocks power out to thousands

Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 5:45 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Wet, heavy snow fell across the Portland metro area early Monday morning.

The snow weighed down tree branches, causing them to break, and bringing down powerlines with them.

At its peak, a spokesperson for Portland General Electric said 77,000 customers were without power. That number has been dropping throughout the day.

The first day of the work week threw a loop for thousands of people after the unexpected snowstorm knocked out power, thus knocking out internet connection. Renee Haerle lives in southwest Portland and works from home a few times a week. She said her power went out around 8 a.m. Monday, interrupting her workday.

“It’s been very difficult,” Haerle said. “I’ve been using my phone as a hot spot. But as my phone is draining, my hot spot life is draining too.”

She said after a taste of summer last week, the snow this week came unexpected.

“When I saw the weather app and I saw there was a chance of snow, I thought it was going to be rain especially with the warm weather last week,” Haerle said. “This is a complete surprise.”

Southwest Portland resident Travis Douville was surprised by the snow too. Like Haerle, he lost power and was on the hunt to find some so he could finish his workday.

“I need to go to work,” Douville said. “So we’re going to a different house where they have internet at a friend’s house and make due for now.”

Portland General Electric said their crews were on standby all-night Sunday going into Monday, waiting for the first reported outage. When the first one was called in, a spokesperson said crews jumped on it immediately. The spokesperson sent FOX 12 this statement:

In Clark County, Clark Public Utilities’ outage portal reported there’s been nearly 30,000 customers without power since the start of Monday. That number has also dropped throughout the day as crews repair lines and clear downed trees.

Haerle said though her power went out, she’s grateful she can work from home so she could avoid the chaos of an unusual April snowstorm.

“I feel really lucky that I have the flexibility to work from home,” she said. “It’s a very normal workday for me other than the power going out. Some people don’t have the flexibility to work from home so I feel really lucky.”