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1 dead as powerful windstorm slams Western Washington

KOMO Photo

SEATTLE -- One person is dead and over 250,000 people were in the dark Sunday afternoon as a powerful windstorm slammed Western Washington.

Seattle Fire Department officials said a man died when a tree fell onto their car in the upper loop of Seward Park Sunday afternoon. A passerby saw the crash and rescued a toddler girl from the backseat. That girl was taken to Harborview Medical Center to be treated for minor injuries.

But it took fire officials two hours to free the body from the SUV. His name has not been released. Once the car was recovered workers from SDOT helped fire crews remove the debris from the road.

Multiple other tree falls were reported across the Puget Sound region. In Puyallup, a tree fell across Shaw Road, taking down power lines with it. In South Everett, a tree fell across the southbound lanes of I-5 just north of 128th St. SW, blocking three lanes for a while. Fallen power lines forced the closure of Golden Gardens Park in Seattle.

Winds gusting in the 50-60 mph knocked out power to over 250,000 people at the peak of the storm, including over 175,000 PSE customers and 45,000 Seattle City Light customers. Snohomish PUD reported 25,000 in the dark while Grays Harbor PUD reported 10,000 in the dark along the coast as winds hit 60 mph there as well. Power outages were reported in Tacoma PUD and Peninsula Light.

The storm also wreaked havoc with three main bridges around the Puget Sound region. On Lake Washington, winds near 55 mph forced WSDOT crews to close the 520 Bridge around 2:30 p.m. and during an inspection, officials found some mechanical damage from the wind. Crews kept the bridge closed Sunday night for repairs and reopened the bridge in time for Monday morning's commute.

The Hood Canal Bridge was also closed for a while Sunday afternoon due to high winds.

In Pierce County, a strong gust of wind toppled a semi truck on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Witnesses say the truck was heading east when it flipped over across two lanes of traffic.

"I see the semi starting to lean and then all of a sudden it just went over altogether," said Kellsie Heck, who witnessed the truck being blown over. "It (the wind) was pushing me over as I ran up to the truck." There are no reports of anyone seriously hurt.

In Mukilteo, a mudslide near the train tracks caused delays for freight trains Sunday. Crews cleaned up the mess and freight trains resumed running around 3:30 p.m. Crews were checking some homes atop the hillside to make sure they're safe.

Peak gusts included 66 mph at Whidbey Island NAS and at Magnolia's Discovery Park, 64 mph in Bellingham, 60 mph in Everett, 58 mph in Tacoma and 56 mph in Seattle. A wind gauge on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry run recorded wind gusts in the middle of Puget Sound reaching 60-62 mph.

The winds had calmed by Sunday evening.

Peak Gusts (mph):

  • Naselle Ridge: 87
  • Cape Disappointment: 72
  • Westport: 68
  • Whidbey NAS: 66
  • Seattle (Magnolia/West Point): 66
  • Bellingham: 64
  • Hoquiam 63
  • Everett: 60
  • Tacoma (JBLM): 58
  • Seattle (Sea-Tac): 56
  • Seattle (Boeing Field): 54
  • Normandy Park: 52
  • Friday Harbor: 51
  • Shelton: 46
  • Renton: 45
  • Olympia: 45


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