High winds pepper Pierce County, cause outages
More than 300,000 people lost power Thursday when 60 mph winds blew through Western Washington.
Downed trees and power lines blocked roads; Gig Harbor and Puyallup closed all city parks; Five Mile Drive in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park was shut down; and at least two school districts relied on generators to keep power on and classes going.
Here are some of the strongest gusts so far: Tacoma Narrows Bridge at 45 mph, Mount Baker at 117 mph, Olympia Airport at 43 mph, Crystal Mountain at 77 mph and Joint Base Lewis-McChord at 50 mph.
The Hood Canal Bridge closed Thursday morning after gusts hit 66 mph.
About 34,000 customers with Tacoma Public Utilities were affected by outages.
There was no estimate on when power might be restored.
Puget Sound Energy said they are responding to about 162,000 customers without power.
Bethel School District said several campuses were affected by outages but generators allowed them to continue with scheduled classes. Bethel High School canceled its athletics practices for the day.
Tacoma Schools said some of its schools were hit with intermittent power and telephone outages but students were not being sent home early.
The National Weather Service issued a high wind watch, which will be in effect through 7 p.m. in Tacoma, Seattle, Bellevue and Bremerton.
Winds are expected to peak from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Forecasters said the rain could cause landslides, some of which have already been reported in Lewis and Grays Harbor counties.
Rainfall today is expected to be 1-2 inches, adding to the 3-10 inches that has fallen over the last week, the Weather Service said.
Olympic National Park closed Highway 101 at Lake Crescent due to high winds and downed trees. The closure is between East Beach and Fairholme.
Thousands of outages are also reported by Seattle City Light (40,000), Snohomish County Public Utility District (52,000), Jefferson County Public Utility District (5,400), Grays Harbor County Public Utility District (16,000), Clallam County Public Utility District (5,200) and Mason County Public Utility District (5,100).