SHERIDAN — A storm that swept through Sheridan Thursday night and into Friday morning knocked out power to many sections of the town. As of 8 a.m., Sheridan College and Sheridan Memorial Hospital were among establishments without power.
Sheridan Fire-Rescue Capt. Gary Harnish said his crews were out a majority of the night responding to calls of tree branches that had fallen into power lines. The early storm hit before most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, which makes for heavy accumulation on tree branches, which eventually snap.
Harnish said fires start when the branches fall into power lines.
“They spark and burn until they move themselves from lines or shut power down,” he said, adding that caution around trees is essential until the situation eases up.
SFR responded to at least eight calls over the course of the night related to trees.
The Sheridan Press attempted to contact Montana-Dakota Utilities via phone and e-mail and received no response regarding the breadth of the outages as of print time.
Sheridan County Commissioner Steve Maier said the county attorney’s building was without power, but all other county services remained open and functional, including the airport.
“Our road and bridge guys are doing the best they can,” he said.
All city government functions also ran as usual, including trash pickup. Administrative Assistant at the landfill Darla Franklin said city crews were running behind, but may work Saturday if all routes aren’t finished.
“We’re asking people to set trash out like normal if today is regular pickup day. If it’s not picked up today, we’ll get it tomorrow,” Franklin said.
Sheridan Memorial Hospital Facilities Director James Rader said the hospital had to kick on its emergency power supply.
“We have a generator that operates all of our essential equipment and lighting, but our off-campus clinics are currently closed,” he said. “The hospital is able to operate normally, and we have enough fuel to last 96 hours. After that, we can have more fuel trucked in.”
Ranchester Mayor Allan Moore said his town fared relatively well overnight.
“City crews were busy early this morning,” Moore said, indicating most roads there were plowed. “Quite a few trees are down.”
Moore also reported a brief power outage at approximately 5 a.m. that lasted for about five minutes, but said he was unaware of other outages.
Dayton Mayor Bob Wood said his town wasn’t so lucky.
“Our water plant had a power outage but our generator took over, so that took care of it, so there were no problems with that,” Wood said, adding a section of town was without power as of 9: 30 Friday morning.
Wood said he was aware of where trees were in the power lines, but no one from the town had yet been able to contact Montant-Dakota Utilities due to their lines being busy and unresponsive.
Wood said Dayton residents will be able to bring down branches to the community’s burn pile when the storm is over.
Sheridan College cancelled the day’s classes along with most school districts and daycares in the county.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation reported wet, snowy roads that are slick in spots. Interstate 90 between Sheridan and Piney Creek Road was closed Friday morning along with the section of U.S. Highway 14 over the Bighorn Mountain Range. No unnecessary travel was advised over most of the county as well.