JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A wind storm is suspected of downing 17 steel utility poles along the Moose-Wilson Road on Tuesday night, causing a power outage in Teton County that could last for several days and forcing the closure of a popular ski resort.
The outage initially affected about 3,500 customers in Teton Village, the Jackson Hole Airport and three subdivisions, said Lower Valley Energy spokesman Brian Tanabe.
Wind gusts of up to 90 mph were reported in west-central Wyoming Tuesday night, but Tanabe said it's not clear if it was straight winds, microbursts or something else that bent some of the steel poles over like they were made of balsa wood.
The downed wires are transmission lines, meaning Lower Valley Energy won't be able to just re-route power to all of the affected areas, Tanabe said. Crews from five other utilities are helping to restore electrical service, he said.
Jackson Hole Airport was closed Tuesday night, stranding several hundred passengers, but flights resumed on Wednesday, airport director Jim Elwood told the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort will be closed through the weekend, said spokeswoman Anna Cole. The resort's heavy equipment and some personnel will be helping to clear snow so repair crews can put up temporary wooden poles.
The closure means the cancellation of skijoring and Special Olympics competitions scheduled for this weekend, Cole said.
Teton Village at the base of the resort is not officially evacuated, but sheriff's Sgt. Matt Carr told The Jackson Hole News & Guide on Wednesday it "is turning into a ghost town right now."
The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce and Jackson Hole Central Reservation will be assisting with lodging and travel options for displaced guests. The resort will issue refunds, but Cole said they have not yet determined how they will take care of that.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation has issued a "no unnecessary travel" order on highways in Teton County.