BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Some of the hundreds of people in southwestern North Dakota who lost electricity during a weekend snowstorm could remain in the dark for a while.
It could be a week before power is restored to all customers, and replacing 700 downed power lines could take even longer, Don Franklund, CEO of Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative and Slope Electric, said.
The storm dumped more than one foot of snow in the region. About 800 Mor-Gran-Sou and Slope Electric customers remained without power late Sunday.
"We have lines and broken wires, but the snow is so deep. It's 3 to 4 feet deep west of Grant County and east of Adams and Hettinger counties," Franklund said. "We have a substation near Hettinger in 7 feet of snow."
Crews are coming in from neighboring electric co-ops in Wyoming and South Dakota to help with repairs, but finding lodging for them is difficult because of the housing shortage in the western North Dakota oil patch, Franklund said.
Montana Dakota Utilities Co. had about 750 customers still out, and about 200 damaged power poles.
"We brought a lot of customers back on Friday and Saturday," Tony Spilde, spokesman for MDU Resources Group, told the Tribune. "(In) Elgin, New Leipzig and down to the South Dakota border, weather and travel conditions were terrible. Snowplows were getting stuck, some of the roads were closed and our lines sustained heavy damage."
The weather has warmed since the storm that hit late Friday and intensified on Saturday - Monday's forecast from the National Weather Service called for high temperatures in the 50s in the region - but that was causing another worry.
"Our next concern will be flooding," Franklund said.
Flooding forced Papa's Pumpkin Patch, a popular fall attraction in rural Bismarck, to shut down Sunday after the site had shut down on Saturday because of heavy snow.