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December 12, 2014 at 4:55 AM

Thousands in W. Washington still without power; crews making progress


As traffic passes by at left, a crew from Frontier Communications helps direct a piece of equipment that will dig a new hole for a pole to hold up phone and cable lines along the south side of Northwest 195th Street near 20th Avenue Northwest in Shoreline on Friday morning. A tree fell on the lines Thursday night, knocking down three poles on the south side of the street and then electrical lines on the north, taking out power as well. (Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times)


Seattle Times staff and The Associated Press

Update at 4:20 p.m.: About 45,000 Puget Sound Energy and Snohomish County PUD customers remain without power Friday afternoon.

Crews are having to clear trees that were knocked down and untangle wires before they are able to make repairs.

Vashon Highway Southwest between Southwest 112th Street and 116th Street is closed because of downed power lines.

Update at 12 p.m.: Puget Sound Energy (PSE) crews are working to restore power to some 35,000 customers.

“Right now, Kingston, Lacey, South Whidbey, Yelm, Woodinville and Bothell are the hardest hit areas,” said Akiko Oda, spokeswoman for PSE. “We’re making pretty good progress.”

Oda said the storm impacted nearly 246,000 customers. She said the biggest challenge they’re facing now is clearing trees knocked down by high winds.

According to Seattle City Light, nearly 500 customers are still without power.

Update at 9:55 a.m.: Residents have been allowed to return to the six Redmond apartments evacuated Thursday night after scaffolding fell from a building across the street.

Update at 9:17 a.m.: The latest numbers of utility customers still without power:

Puget Sound Energy: 42,800

Seattle City Light: 2,400.

Snohomish County PUD: 13,000.

Update at 8:34 a.m.: Redmond police said 160th Avenue Northeast, between Northeast 83rd and Northeast 85th, remained closed Friday morning after scaffolding outside an apartment building under construction fell Thursday night.

There were no injuries, but police said residents of six apartments across the street in the 8300 block of 160th Avenue Northeast had to be evacuated because of damage to their homes.

“Public works and the fire department deemed these units were not safe because of flying debris,” said Janessa Rosick, spokeswoman for Redmond police.

The residents of the six units were relocated to a nearby hotel, paid for by the company building the new apartment complex, Rosick said.

The cause of the scaffolding collapse is being investigated.

Update at 8:22 a.m.: The Point Defiance/Tahlequah ferry route is out of service until further notice because of storm damage to the Tahlequah terminal, according to Washington State Ferries. The alternate route is the North Vashon terminal.

Update at 6:58 a.m.: Outages are down to about 15,000 now in Snohomish County and Camano Island, according to the Snohomish County Public Utility District.

Update at 6:38 a.m.: Seattle City Light now says about 2,000 customers are without power. The number without power has dropped to 48,600 for Puget Sound Energy customers.

Update at 6 a.m.: Puget Sound Energy says about 53,000 customers are without power in the utility’s service area.

Meanwhile, several school districts are closing schools or starting late as a result of power outages and blocked roads. Check here for updates.

The tree that was blocking Highway 203 at 124th Street Northeast, south of Duvall, has been cleared.

Original post: Utility crews are making progress in restoring power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in Western Washington that lost power during last night’s windstorm.

Puget Sound Energy reported about 66,000 customers were still without power as of 4:30 a.m. Friday, down from a peak of nearly 105,000 at 1 a.m. Seattle City Light said just under 2,500 were in the dark as of 4:30 a.m.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District reported about 26,000 customers were without power.

Some school districts are observing modified schedules as a result of the storm.

In the Northshore School District, Timbercrest Junior High and Bear Creek and East Ridge elementary schools are closed Friday due to road closures and power outages. All other district schools will open two hours later than normal.

In the Everett School District, Everett High and Emerson and Woodside elementaries will be closed.

South Whidbey School District is closed.

In the Bethel School District in Pierce County, Roy Elementary School will start two hours late. The Toledo School District in Lewis County is also starting school two hours late.

Information on other school districts can be found here.

Meanwhile, authorities warn those who are heading off to work to watch for fallen branches, trees or wires as well as darkened intersections. Several streets are blocked by trees or debris, including state Highway 9 a mile north of Finn Settlement Road north of Arlington. Also, Highway 203 at 124th Street Northeast, south of Duvall, is blocked by a tree, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The National Weather Service says a landslide risk continues Friday in Western Washington.

Firefighters have extinguished a propane tank blaze that forced the evacuation of the Red Wind Casino in the Olympia area.

Lacey Fire District 3 said its crews and other fire departments responded. No fire-related injuries were reported.

Officials say a tree fell onto the casino’s 18,000-gallon propane tank and started a large fire roughly 30 feet from the casino.

The fire was brought under control late Thursday night.

Winds have gradually died down. Thursday night, the National Weather Service recorded gusts of 50 mph at Seattle’s Alki Beach, 61 mph on Camano Island and 69 mph at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

Forecasters expect a calmer weekend with some sunshine and a return next week to occasional rain showers and mountain snow across the state.


Comments | More in Weather Beat | Topics: power outages, Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light


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