Storm leaves thousands without power in Bigfork area

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Lightning strikes over Kalispell on Saturday evening. (Mike Potter photo)

Thousands of homes were without power Sunday after a powerful thunderstorm passed through the Flathead Valley Saturday evening.

About 4,000 Flathead Electric Cooperative members were without power Sunday morning, mostly in the Bigfork, Wood’s Bay, Ferndale, Lake Blaine and Swan Lake areas. According to the cooperative, the outages were due to downed trees and storm damage.

Toppled trees were reported from Columbia Falls to Bigfork. A strong thunderstorm warning was posted for the valley Saturday at about 8:30 p.m. The storm packed hail, rain, lightning and wind gusts up to 50 mph.

More outages hit the valley Sunday afternoon, with affected areas including Lakeside, Kalispell, Evergreen and the Bigfork area. Some Bigfork-area residents reported being without power for nearly 20 hours.

Widespread showers with a chance of thunderstorms was expected in the Flathead area Sunday afternoon.

“These storms will not be as strong as Saturday but brief heavy rain, small hail, and strong winds are possible,” the National Weather Service warned Sunday.

Residents can keep tabs on the outages at the Flathead Electric Cooperative outage map online.

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