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May storm blasts Kivalliq

Whale Cove left without power, telephone service

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Whale Cove (May 16/01) - The hamlet of Whale Cove was struck with a power outage this past week when an early May storm whipped through the Kivalliq Region.

The hamlet was also without phone service for a day.

Wind gusts in excess of 80 km/h hour coupled with freezing rain caused the outage.

Whale SAO Roy Mullins says the power went out about 2:30 a.m. on May 8 and remained off until about 9 p.m.

"The phones went dead about 12 p.m. Tuesday afternoon and remained down until Wednesday morning," says Mullins. "We activated our satellite phones, so we weren't completely cut off.

"Our hamlet does have a contingency plan for a situation like this, but it didn't reach the point where we had to implement it."

Randy Robinson, area superintendent for the Power Corp., says ice build-up on the power lines resulted in two separate breakages.

"The town has two feeds, a north and south, and the south side of town went out because that's where the break was," explained Robinson.

The weather prevented the Power Corp. from flying a linesman into Whale.

Robinson says Simon Kowmuk of Rankin Inlet tried to get lineman Larry Fleischhacker into Whale by bombardier, but conditions forced the two to return to Rankin after going only 16 kilometres out of town.

The two waited a couple of hours and then were able to make it to Whale by snowmobile.

"Larry (Fleischhaker) and Whale Cove's Ricky Alikashuak, who had been managing the local power plant when the break occurred, were able to restore power.

"The next day the linesman fixed a second problem outside of the hamlet that had cut off power to the hamlet."

Once power was restored, a telephone lineman was able to make it into the hamlet and restore the phone system.

There were no injuries or damages caused by the power outage.