November 3, 2013 in City

Western Washington storm cuts power for thousands, closes bridge

Mike Baker Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

The state Route 520 bridge is slowly reopened to traffic in both directions after high winds forced a temporary closure on Saturday in Seattle.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

SEATTLE – A blustery November storm moving through the Northwest knocked out power for more than 100,000 customers Saturday and led some drivers to abandon their vehicles on a bridge.

Puget Sound Energy said Saturday afternoon that it had 95,000 customers without power in various parts of Western Washington as officials dealt with downed trees and limbs. Seattle City Light had another 40,000 people impacted. Those numbers were dwindling Saturday evening as winds eased and crews worked to restore service.

High winds also temporarily closed the state Route 520 bridge. Trooper Chris Webb of the Washington State Patrol said drivers in about 50 cars abandoned their vehicles on the bridge for a period of time. Troopers eventually escorted people back to their vehicles.

Elsewhere, a man from Granite Falls was taken to the hospital with serious injuries after a tree fell on his vehicle near Monroe, authorities said.

The National Weather Service had issued a wind warning for part of Saturday covering coastal areas in Washington and Oregon, forecasting wind gusts up to 65 mph. Slightly weaker winds were expected in areas like Seattle to the mountains.

Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said equipment on Destruction Island off the Washington coast recorded a peak gust of 72 mph on Saturday morning. Burg said the storm was not unusual for this time of year in the Northwest.

“We’re getting some pretty good winds, but nothing catastrophic right now,” Burg said. “We’re not looking for any big, widespread destruction.”

Burg said forecasters had been watching for a slight risk of flooding, but they don’t expect that to be an issue anymore. About half an inch of rain was expected at lower elevations.

As the storm moves through, elevations above 2,500 feet were expected to get more than half an inch of snow.

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