Powerful storm brings damaging winds to parts of region

SEATTLE -- A powerful storm -- the strongest of the season so far -- was giving a strong dose of wind to much of Western Washington early Monday morning, knocking out power to thousands and bringing blizzard conditions to the mountain passes.

Gusts reached 59 mph at Sea-Tac Airport with gusts from 40-55 mph common across the southern Puget Sound region.

In Lakewood, a family escaped without injury when a tree fell onto a home in the 7000 block of Foster Street SW, said Assistant Fire Marshal Hallie McCurdy. The tree crashed into the home around 3:30 a.m., narrowly missing a baby boy asleep in his crib.

"It sounded like a giant thunder," said neighbor Mike Bitz, whose car was also damaged by the fallen tree. He said the family who lived in the home was shaken up after the rude awakening.

"It got within a couple feet of the crib," said storm technician Ted Huestis. "There was a couple broken trusses and sheeting hanging down. Sure it was real scary for the parents when they went into the room."

"I was so glad that baby's OK," Bitz said. The baby was taken to a local hospital to be checked out.

In Des Moines, high tide with the strong winds brought crushing waves that devoured part of the boardwalk at Redondo Beach.

"If you walk down a little bit farther the whole board walk is taken out," said Tiffany Sicliano. "There's sections where the boards are up and it's bad down there."

Highline Community College owns the Mast Center Aquarium next to Salty's. Owner Kaddee Lawrence says the siding is breaking away, and there are animals still inside.

"Those logs here are going to do damage to the the decking and our pilings, everything that keeps us up," Lawrence said.

Over in Kirkland, two people also had a rude awakening when the boats they were sleeping on suddenly began to sink in the wind and waves, tossing them both into the water near the city's public dock, said Capt. Dana Olson with Kirkland Fire.

Rescue crews rushed to the scene but both people had made it to shore. They were treated by medics at the scene and then released.

At the storm's peak, about 30,000 people were without power with Seattle City Light comprising 11,000 of the outages. Puget Sound Energy had 17,000 in the dark, while scattered outages were reported by Mason County PUD and Peninsula Light. A few schools were delaying the start of classes due to weather.

Strong winds also forced the Washington State Ferries to cancel service between Port Townsend and Keystone.

Aside from the wind, drenching rains continued through the night. A mudslide hit the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks about 1:30 a.m. Monday in the Nisqually area north of Olympia.

Spokesman Gus Melonas says the track has been cleared for freight trains, but there's a 48-hour safety moratorium for Amtrak trains between Olympia and Tacoma. Amtrak has thus canceled train service between Seattle and Portland until at least Wednesday.

Melonas says the second mudslide at 11:30 a.m. covered slide-prone tracks in Everett where monitors were watching for it.

Up in the mountains, blizzard conditions persisted until late morning when snow subsided a bit. An additional 5-10 inches were expected through Monday night and then snow was to lighten further.

Attention was turning from rain and wind to lowland snow overnight as cooler air moves into the region behind Monday's storm. Some parts north of Seattle could see 1-3" of snow by early Tuesday morning, but much of the region was expected to remain bare.

Peak Gusts from storm:

Some peak wind gusts with the storm:

Naselle Ridge: 82 mph
Packwood: 74 mph
Seattle: 69 mph
Westport: 62 mph
Hoquiam: 60 mph
Seattle (Sea-Tac): 59 mph
Humptulips: 58 mph
Alki Beach: 55 mph
Tatoosh Island: 53 mph
Whidbey Island NAS: 53 mph
Shelton: 49 mph
S. Bellevue (Eastgate): 49 mph
Tacoma: 46 mph
Auburn: 45 mph
Anacortes: 45 mph
Univ. of Washington: 45 mph
Renton: 44 mph
I-5 @ Nisqually: 43 mph
520 Bridge: 42 mph
Ocean Shores: 42 mphSeattle (Boeing Field): 41 mph
Olympia: 37 mph