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Storm packing 68 mph winds knocks out power to over 18,000

SEATTLE -- It was certainly a dark a stormy night Sunday -- in some places, much stormier than others.

As a potent storm brushed past Western Washington Sunday night, it brought heavy rain to much of the region, and a dose of very strong winds to both the far North Sound -- and far South Sound areas.

Bellingham reported a gust of 68 mph just after 8:30 p.m., just the peak of several wind gusts in the 55-60 mph range through Sunday evening. Whidbey Island NAS hit 59 mph, while Friday Harbor and the San Juan Islands had gusts in the 45-50 mph range, with a peak gust at Friday Harbor of 48 mph. Over on the coast, Hoquiam also rattled off a 58 mph gust as the storm pushed inland.

Puget Sound Energy reported just over 17,000 customers without power as of 9:40 p.m., but that number had dwindled to just under 4,000 by Monday morning. Peninsula Light said 1,300 of their customers were without power at the height of the storm.

The San Juan Islands were also hit hard, and Orcas Power and Light said there were hours-long outages affecting Orcas and Shaw Island, but didn't give a specific number of customers in the dark.

In the South Sound, Olympia registered a gust of 52 mph while Tacoma hit 47 mph at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, although an anemometer at the nearby Gray airfield reported a 49 mph gust.

Wind speeds were much lower in the Seattle and Everett areas as the storm's track was such that the Olympic Mountains provided some protection from the wind. Seattle City Light reported full service at 9:30 p.m. as Sea-Tac's peak gusts was 22 mph and Everett's Paine Field reported barely a breeze at 6 mph.

The storm was expected to peak overnight Sunday with rain briefly tapering to showers early Monday morning, then another weather system arrives in the late morning with a renewed round of steady rains and gusty winds.

A wetter storm is on tap for Tuesday as a Pineapple Express type pattern sets up for two days, drenching the lowlands with 1-3 inches of rain while the mountains get 5-8 inches or more. River forecasters will be keeping an eye on water levels and some minor flooding is possible by midweek.

The soggy pattern holds through the week and into next weekend with an additional 3-4 storms lined up in the Pacific Ocean making their way here.

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