OGDEN - It's been an unpleasant day and a half for many in northern as high winds have had an effect on their homes and lives.
Wallace and Gloria Gross of North Ogden have been without power since 7 p.m. Thursday night. It really hits them hard because they both use C-Pap machines to sleep at night and Gloria is on oxygen round-the-clock that is managed by a system that uses electricity. The couple has lived in their home for 47 years and don't have anywhere else to go when the power goes out, so for Gloria it can be a real problem.
"She just has to use the regular air to breathe," Wallace said. The couple was at the doctor Friday afternoon to make sure Gloria was doing all right despite her lack of oxygen. Wallace is frustrated because Rocky Mountain Power keeps pushing the time back when the power will be back on. "At first they told us 9:30 this morning and now they are saying 1:30. I wonder what will happen at 1:30," Wallace said.
Dave Eskelsen, spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power, said as of mid-morning Friday there were only about 450 homes left in Weber County without power. The biggest area in North Ogden, about 2,400 customers, was restored at 7:30 Friday morning and those customers were without power for about 12 hours. Eskelsen said the rest of the outages were smaller areas or single troubleshooters that the power company is working hard to restore.
Rocky Mountain Power is bracing for another round of high winds for Friday night, he said. "We try to keep the system in good repair year-round so we can keep power as much possible, but with winds of this nature it's hard to manage," Eskelsen said.
Flying debris and downed trees present problems that are often out of the power company's control. "We have crews on call and extra personnel we can call in from other areas if we need to," Eskelsen said. Thursday night's storm didn't require either of those things, but they always maintain the same posture just in case.
There are also tips on the website to help people prepare for a power outage and secure alternate electricity or suggestions on what to do if power is out and people require electricity for medical reasons.
In northern Ogden, Albert Cattelan, 87, got a big surprise at 1:30 a.m. Friday when he looked out his window to discover a 35-foot pine tree down in his yard. He was up lighting a fire in his living room to keep him and his wife warm.
"There was so much wind and everything banging around I didn't realize it (was a tree) but when I looked out the window I saw it there," Cattelan said.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened -- Cattelan lost another pine tree in his front yard about 15 years ago. This year's loss poses a bigger problem, because he is older and can't get rid of the tree on his own.
"We are on a fixed income and I figure it will cost about $3,000 to have someone get rid of it," he said. "I don't know what we're going to do."
He is glad for a couple of things, though. The tree was inches from hitting his house, which would have been terrible. Plus, he has a 75-foot Ponderosa pine in his back yard that didn't fall.
"Thank God that didn't go over," he said. The damage from that fall would have affected more than just his home. Luckily, the elderly couple can still get in and out of their house.
"We do have two doors," he said with a laugh.