Hundreds on North Shore still without power after ice storm

Line by line, pole by pole, electricity is slowly being restored to people along the hills of the North Shore, although hundreds remain without power.

Duluth ice storm
A damaged telephone line displays the impact of Monday's ice storm on the Finland area. (Amanda Hansmeyer/

Line by line, pole by pole, electricity is slowly being restored to people along the hills of the North Shore, although hundreds remain without power.

Sarah Cron, public affairs manager for Cooperative Light and Power in Two Harbors, said nearly 1,000 customers still had no electricity Wednesday afternoon. Most of them have been without power since about noon Monday.

It could be Friday before all main lines are restored and next week for all remote customers to regain electricity, Cron said.

But power has been restored to much of Beaver Bay, Silver Bay, Pequaywan Lakes and even some areas near hard-hit Finland. The cooperative had four crews of their own and eight from other utilities working to restore power that was cut when ice-laden trees fell on top of lines.

Cron said the change from rain to light snow Wednesday was welcome to avoid more ice buildup, though sunny and warm weather might have been preferred.


At the height of the storm Monday and Tuesday, more than 2,000 customers of Cooperative Light and Power and Arrowhead Electric in Lake and Cook counties were without electricity, stretching from Knife River to Grand Portage.

The worst damage appeared to be in areas of highest elevation on the ridge above Lake Superior, stretching for several miles inland. Farther inland, areas near Ely and the along the upper Gunflint Trail reported no damage.

It may be several weeks before foresters get a better handle on the extent of damage to urban and forest trees. Tens of thousands of trees snapped off or fell over under the weight of more than an inch of ice. Other trees that merely bent over might recover.

"I'd say we lost half the trees in our front yard, snapped off," Cron said of her rural Two Harbors home. "We've got a good two weeks of chainsaw work ahead of us.

"It's hard to say what's down in the woods. It was just too dangerous to go out there, with all the trees falling.''

The scene, although not as widespread, is eerily reminiscent of damage after the July 4, 1999, windstorm that swept across the Superior National Forest just a few miles north of the ice storm damage.

Superior National Forest officials on Wednesday said many secondary roads and recreation trails are impassable across eastern areas of the forest because of downed trees and ice.

Fallen trees are blocking roads at Tettegouche, Temperance River and George H. Crosby-Manitou State Parks. Because of blocked roads, falling trees and limbs, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials advise visitors to avoid these state parks until at least Monday. All recreation trails in the ice storm area, hiking, snowmobile and skiing, are considered blocked and closed for days if not weeks.


"We have thousands of trees weighted down by heavy ice," Phil Leversedge, manager of the three parks, said in a statement. "Small aspen, birch, moose maple and alder have snapped. Larger trees are losing branches and snapping off high above the ground. Young, 15-foot-tall white and red pines have had their tops break off from heavy ice, forever damaging them."

"The woods are full of sounds of breaking branches and snapping trees," he said.

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