A windy night on tap as strong September storm blows through

SEATTLE - A rainy and blustery storm blew into Western Washington Sunday evening, bringing a round of drenching rains and blustery winds as September gets set to end with a bang.

A very strong area of low pressure moved ashore into North-central Vancouver Island and then tracked inland into the Southern B.C. interior Sunday night. This track brought some gusty winds but spared the region from super-strong winds that had been feared with some model forecasts of a more southerly closer-to-home landfall.

Instead, it's a somewhat classic storm pattern for Western Washington in the late fall and winter, but is quite unusual for late September.

Peak gusts as of 10 p.m. Sunday reached over 50 mph along the coast (51 mph in Hoquiam, 59 mph in Hoquiam) and at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, which reported a gust of 54 mph.

Most other wind gusts around the Puget Sound area were in the 35-45 mph range including a 39 mph gust in Seattle and Everett.

The winds combined with a soggy ground helped topple a large tree across two cars on Seattle's Queen Anne Hill in the 500 block of W. McGraw Street. A tree also fell across SR-167 at Willis Road late Sunday evening, the Washington State Patrol reported.

Nearly 18,000 people had lost power from the storm, including 3,200 in Seattle, about 3,500 in Mason County, 1,200 in the south Tacoma area and 1,000 in Grays Harbor County. Most were brief in duration. Puget Sound Energy reported just over 8,800 in the dark scattered across their grids in Western Washington.

North Kitsap Fire and Rescue officials said they were dealing with a number of downed trees and power lines. In Indianola, a power pole caught fire at the end of Shore Drive and a tree took down live wires across Kitsap Street and again on Nachant Drive.

Tree branches also found their way into power lines on SR-104 near Gamblewood in Kitsap County.

Over on the coast, a High Surf Warning remains in effect through 11 a.m. Monday for surf as high as 27-30 feet.

In addition, snow was falling in the higher elevations of the mountains and a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the Cascades for areas above 4,500 feet in the North Cascades and 5,000 feet in the Central Cascades. As much as 4-8 inches of new snow could fall around Mt. Baker and Paradise Ranger Station. Main Stevens/Snoqualmie Passes will be rain but very windy.

Gusty winds to about 30-45 mph were expected through the early hours Monday and then winds were to slowly taper off.

Occasional showers and isolated thunderstorms were also possible in the wake of the storm through Monday.