Power outages, school closures, flooding as March storm rakes Western Wash.

KOMO Photo of tree into home in Bellingham

SEATTLE - Strong winds and heavy rain squalls slammed Western Washington on Thursday morning as a double-barreled storm bore down on the region, knocking out power, toppling trees and flooding some roadways.

Powerful winds washed a fishing boat onto the rocks in Bellingham Bay with three people aboard, sparking a Coast Guard rescue effort.

And in Lynnwood, two homes caught fire after a falling tree brought live power lines down on top of them.

At least 65,000 customers were without power as of 9:30 a.m. across the region, including more than 9,000 in Seattle.

The loss of power and downed trees has forced some school delays and closures in several Western Washington counties.

Bainbridge Island Fire officials reported most of the island was without power as of 6 a.m. Power was reported to be out on Orcas and Lopez islands in the San Juans as well.

Strong winds forced the state Department of Transportation to close the Hood Canal Bridge early Thursday morning until the winds subsided.

Brownsville Highway in Kitsap County was closed Thursday morning because of water over the road. Downed trees also forced the closure of other roads in the county.

Downed trees and power lines closed roads in Snohomish County. The Public Utility District was working to restore power for the City of Marysville and other parts of Snohomish County.

In Seattle, a tree came down in the roadway on Lake Washington Blvd. S. at Boyer Avenue E. in the Arboretum. The street has since reopened.

The Sounder Northline Trains No. 1703 and No. 1705 out of Everett were being held due to trees across the tracks.

In Skagit County, coastal flooding inundated homes and closed Sneeoosh Road. Coastal flooding was also an issue on parts of Camano Island. The water receded by Thursday afternoon but 34 roads remained closed as of 2:30 primarily due to downed power lines.

And in Bellingham, U.S. Coast Guard crews rescued three people after high winds washed a fishing boat onto the rocks. The boat was later reported to be breaking up on the rocks.

Whidbey Island Naval Air Station hit a gust of 64 mph Thursday morning while Bellingham hit 67, Everett hit 60, Hoquiam reached 54 and Friday Harbor hit 51 mph. Closer to the city, Sea-Tac Airport hit 44 mph while Tacoma checked in at 41 mph.

Some other notable gusts: Sandy Point 71 mph, Destruction Island 77, Westport 59, Lopez Island 62, Humptulips 60, and La Push 62 mph.

The storm coincides with an extra high tide in the region, which could push water across some busy commute routes in the South Sound. The city of Olympia is prepared to close some roads if the tidal surge is strong enough to swamp them.

The storm comes just about 6 to 8 hours after an earlier low pressure center blistered the Oregon and Washington coast with severe winds Wednesday evening.


This is a developing news story. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

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