Wind blows out of Western Washington but leaves mark

A fierce windstorm blew out of Western Washington on Friday, leaving behind the risk of landslides and dozens of people cleaning up fallen trees and limbs.

The storm, which National Weather Service forecasters said could be the biggest since 2006, didn’t cause as much disruption as expected in Pierce County.

“It’s much less severe than forecast, and we’re grateful for that,” said Bruce Wagner, road operations division manager for Pierce County Public Works & Utilities.

Still, the storm left a mark.

Woodbrook Middle School in Lakewood was closed Friday because of a power outage, and Roy Elementary School got a late start.

Public works crews responded to 15 felled trees on the roads.

The Point Defiance/Tahlequah ferry route was out of service Friday morning after the storm damaged the electrical system. Ferries began sailing again at 10:55 a.m.

Strong gusts knocked trees onto power lines, plunging more than 170,000 people in Western Washington into the dark Thursday night.

At the height of the storm, Tacoma Public Utilities said it had 21,000 people without power. By Friday, 150 TPU customers remained without electricity.

Puget Sound Energy workers were working to restore power to 45,000 people by Friday.

A section of Harts Lake Road South in Roy was closed Friday as crews tried to remove a tree from a power line.

Winds overnight reached 49 mph at Sea-Tac Airport, 59 mph in Parkland and 69 mph at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, according to the Weather Service.

The winds died down and skies cleared Friday, but forecasters warned about the risk of landslides.

Lowland cities saw one-half to 2 inches of rain, which when combined with precipitation from the previous days, saturated the soil and made several areas unstable.

A mudslide hit Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks near Edmonds about 12:30 a.m. Friday. The tracks were cleared about three hours later. A 48-hour safety moratorium meant passenger trains between Seattle and Everett won’t be traveling this weekend.

Weather is expected to calm down this weekend, with temperatures ranging in the high 40s and partial sunshine.

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