Over 75,000 left in dark as first windstorm of 2014 blows through

SEATTLE -- The first windstorm of 2014 packed a bit of a punch, bringing wind gusts as high as 50-60 mph in parts of Western Washington and drenching the record crowd at the Seahawks' game Saturday.

Over 75,000 people had lost power at some point Saturday morning.

Puget Sound Energy reported more than 500 outages affecting nearly 40,000 customers Saturday morning, and said its crews were "in Beast Mode" working to restore it - a reference to the bruising style of running back Marshawn Lynch.

Seattle City Light said that at one point early Saturday, it had 28,000 customers without power, but it managed to restore 20,000 within a few hours. Nevertheless, more heavy rain, winds and hail swept through early Saturday afternoon, knocking out power to thousands more.

The utilities advised people without power for the 1:30 p.m. to find someplace else to watch it, such as the big screen at the Seattle Central Library.

Tacoma Power said 7,000 customers had power outages. Over on the coast, Grays Harbor PUD had about 3,000 without power at the peak.

The winds toppled one large tree into a home in Bothell. The homeowner reports it caused just minor damage. A tree also brought down power lines across Woodinville-Duvall Road at NE 165th Street.

At South Dawson and 52nd Ave. S. in Seattle, a tree fell on top of a truck and a mudslide blocked access to about 200 residents in Index. There were no reported injuries any of the incidents.

The strong winds and heavy rains made for a soggy day at CenturyLink Field for the Seahawks' 23-15 victory over the New Orelans Saints. 0.22 inches of rain fell during the game, making it one of, if not the wettest Seahawks home gamesince the stadium opened in 2002.

Hoquiam had the strongest wind gust on land in the lowlands with a 63 mph reading overnight. The wind gauge at the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island recorded a gust of 60 mph, while Bellingham clocked in at 55 mph and Shelton and Everett both hit 51.

Most other stations, including the Seattle Metro area, had peak gusts in the 40-50 mph range with Gig Harbor hitting 49 mph although Seattle did record a 56 mph gust during a thunderstorm that pushed through right before the Seahawks game.

Much higher up, Hurricane Ridge lived up to its name with a 78 mph gust early Saturday morning.

A High Wind Warning remains in effect for the coast and Whidbey Island/Port Townsend areas through 1 a.m. Sunday as westerly winds could continue to gust as high as 50-60 mph there.

A Wind Advisory is in effect for the rest of Western Washington until 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

Snow to pummel the Cascades

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 4 a.m. Sunday for the Cascades for as much as 12 inches of new snow from midday Saturday through evening, then additional foot of snow overnight. Some of the higher mountain elevations could get even more.

Be prepared for heavy snow and strong, gusty winds if planning on pass travel in the afternoon/evening or nighttime hours -- a special heads up for those coming to the game today from Eastern Washington, your trip home maybe be a challenge.

Minor flooding on some rivers

While wind is getting much of the attention, there was quite a bit of rain overnight as well. Flood Warnings have been issued for the Skokomish and Bogachiel Rivers for minor flooding Saturday.

A Flood Watch remains in effect for just about all the rest of the rivers in Western Washington, although the gradual lowering of snow levels should relieve some of the pressure on the rivers later.

Oh, and we nearly set a record high

Rain: check. Wind: Check. Mountain snow: Eventual check. Flood Watches? Check. So we've covered all the bases of a typical Western Washington winter windstorm...

But we forgot: near record warmth? As warm air pushed in just before the cold front's passage early Saturday morning, the temperature surged and Seattle nearly set a record high!

The 3 a.m. reading at Sea-Tac was 58 degrees -- one degree short of the record. Renton and Boeing Field reached 59 while North Bend reported 60! But temperatures were back down into the mid 40s by 7 a.m.

The rest of Saturday will feature scattered showers -- some heavy at times -- and continued blustery conditions that both will ease overnight. Sunday will feature another round of light rain, but nothing this stormy. Long range models suggest a fairly tranquil pattern next week.

Peak Wind Gusts:

Here are some of the peak gusts in the storm

  • Hurricane Ridge: 78
  • Tatoosh Island: 66
  • Astoria, OR: 64
  • Hoquiam: 63
  • Whidbey Isl. NAS: 60
  • Alki Beach: 55
  • Belligham: 55
  • Seattle: 52 (56 mph during thunderstorm squall)
  • Everett: 52
  • Shelton: 51
  • Gig Harbor: 49
  • Tacoma: 46
  • Bremerton: 44
  • Chehalis: 44
  • Friday Harbor: 44
  • Forks: 43
  • Edmonds-Kingston Ferry: 41
  • 520 Bridge: 41
  • Hood Canal Bridge: 41
  • Olympia: 39