October 10, 1997 in City

West Side High Wind Cuts Power Drivers In Cascades See Wintry Conditions

Associated Press
 
Tags:storm

Stormy weather battered Western Washington on Thursday night, causing numerous power outages and creating wintry driving conditions in the northern Cascade passes.

Many areas reported rain and sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts reaching near 50 mph at Hoquiam, Port Townsend and Friday Harbor, the National Weather Service reported.

The winds were expected to ease by today with forecasts calling for showers and isolated thunderstorms.

About 7,000 Puget Sound Energy customers lost power, mostly in Whatcom and Skagit counties and in the Poulsbo, Port Townsend and Bremerton areas, spokeswoman Dorothy Bracken said. Crews worked to repair power lines downed by falling tree limbs.

“We’re finding that the wind is coming in fiercest in our northern region and western area,” she said.

That outage figure was reduced to 2,500 by 9 p.m., Bracken said.

About 8,000 Seattle City Light customers in the northeast part of the city lost power when high winds toppled trees and branches onto power lines, City Light spokeswoman Sharon Bennett said. That number was reduced to 1,000 customers by late Thursday night.

Also in Seattle, tug boats worked to corral a barge that broke loose from its mooring on the western shore of Lake Washington.

The barge damaged at least one boat at a dock, KIRO-TV reported. Tugs pulled the barge away from the dock.

Locations on the eastern slopes of the Olympic Mountains near Hood Canal reported as much as 1-1/2 inches of rain in 12 hours, Jim Jones, forecaster for the National Weather Service, said Thursday night in Seattle.

A few locations on the coast, such as Ocean Shores and Long Beach, reported nearly 1-1/2 inches of rain in 24 hours, Jones said.

“Other than that, we’ve had sporadic reports of anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch anywhere you want to pick in Western Washington,” he said.

In the Cascades, the snow level was at 4,000 feet with accumulations of about 6 inches above that level, according to the National Weather Service.

In Oregon, the storm blew wind and rain through the Willamette Valley, leaving more than 12,000 customers without power as gusts downed trees into power lines.

The storm hovered off the southwest Washington coast, whipping Oregon’s coast with gusts up to 69 mph at Cape Arago south of Coos Bay and 61 mph at Cannon Beach on the northern coast. Waves climbed to 25 feet in Newport on the central coast.

“We have had horizontal rain down here today,” Katie Trees, owner of the Midtown Cafe in Cannon Beach, said late Thursday afternoon. “The wind is blowing like crazy.”

In northern Willamette Valley, wind gusts up to 40 mph blew trees into power lines, cutting off power to 12,000 Portland General

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