A windstorm with gusts of more than 50 mph Sunday afternoon helped topple a semitruck on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and left nearly 33,000 South Sound residents without power at one point.
A nearly 3-mile-long traffic jam snarled state Route 16 through Gig Harbor after the semi fell on its side, backing up cars to the Olympic Drive exit, according to Washington state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Claudia Bingham Baker.
“It would have been a lot worse had it not been a Sunday,” Bingham Baker said.
Wind was a contributing factor in the accident, according to Washington State Police spokesman Todd Bartolac, who said nobody was injured in the one-vehicle crash.
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Peninsula Light Co. reported on Twitter a peak of 7,800 power outages, including half of Fox Island. Tacoma Public Utilities reported on Twitter a peak of 6,300 outages, but said by 6 p.m. that only 1,800 customers were without power. Puget Sound Energy had 2,200 outages in Thurston County, 8,600 in Pierce County and 8,000 in South King County, spokeswoman Christina Donegan said.
Tacoma Narrows Airport reported a peak gust of 41 mph and sustained 30 mph winds at 2 p.m., McChord Field reported a peak gust of 55 mph at 1:20 p.m. with a sustained wind of 39 mph and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport reported a peak gust of 55 mph at 2:32 p.m., according to National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Haner.
The last time Sea-Tac Airport saw a gust that strong was Jan. 18, 2015, when winds blew to 59 mph.
“It seems like any exposed location up and down the I-5 corridor through Pierce County probably saw peak wind gusts of 55 to 60 mph,” Haner said.
Olympia Regional Airport reported a peak wind gust of 46 mph.
“If you’re looking for strong winds, Olympia was kind of the loser,” Haner said.
Metro Parks Tacoma closed the entrance to Point Defiance Park about two hours early Sunday, a spokesman said, also closing the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and the Fort Nisqually museum.
A collision on Interstate 5 northbound at Milepost 120 backed traffic up nearly 10 miles into Lacey, Bingham Baker said, but it was unknown if weather contributed to the crash.
Downed power lines left Meridian Avenue East closed at 194th Street at one point. A mudslide partially closed a lane on state Route 165 at Milepost 11.5, at the Carbon River.
Seattle Fire Department reported on Twitter that a man died Sunday when a tree fell onto a vehicle in the 8500 block of Seward Park Road.
A toddler was in the car’s back seat and was removed by a passer-by before being taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with minor injuries, Seattle Fire spokeswoman Corey Orvold told The Associated Press.