Thousands lose power as gusty winds hit Western Washington

National Weather Service satellite photo shows nature's fire hose aimed at the Pacific Northwest all the way from China.

Gusty winds knocked out power to thousands of customers across Western Washington on Tuesday morning as the first in a series of storms took aim at the Pacific Northwest.

Puget Sound Energy reported more than 10,000 without electricity as of mid-morning in Bellingham, Clinton, Concrete, Lynden, Poulsbo, Sedro-Woolley, Bainbridge Island and several other communities.

In Snohomish County, about 2,500 customers lost electrical service in Everett, Arlington, Oso, Lake Stevens and Darrington. Power was restored to all but about 720 customers as of mid-morning. A second power outage briefly knocked out about 1,800 customers in Edmonds.

About 3,500 homes lost power earlier on Whidbey Island after a transformer blew. Electrical service there was mostly restored by 9:45 a.m.

In Seattle, more than 100 homes lost power on Beacon Hill.

Power lines also were reported to be down in north Kitsap County near Hansville.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of 40 mph or higher in some locations earlier Tuesday morning, such as Port Angeles (49) mph, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (47-mph peak gust), Ferndale (47-mph gust) and Paine Field in Everett (41-mph gust).

Gusts of 30 to 39 mph were common elsewhere in the lowlands, while up in the mountains, someridgetops had gusts nearing 100 mph!

Another stormy day Wednesday

It's just the appetizer for a stronger storm due in on Wednesday. High Wind Watches are in effect Wednesday for the coast and Northwest Interior (Everett north to Canadian border, including San Juan, Camano and Whidbey Islands) for potential southeast gusts to 50 mph. Winds will pick up there in the morning, peaking in the afternoon and easing in the evening. Elsewhere, including the Seattle area, winds are expected to gust between 30-40 mph.

While those wind speeds are still rather common for autumn, the first storms of the year tend to create more power outages at lower wind speeds due to trees still carrying most of their leaves and dead branches from the dry summer yet to be pruned. Thus, the High Wind Watch was issued even through expected gusts would typically need to be over 58 mph to qualify.

A second round of heavy rain is also inbound with the second storm with several inches of rain expected in the mountains. A Flood Watch has been issued for the Skokomish River, but other rivers were low enough at the onset that flooding is not expected. Heavy rains in the lowlands could cause spots of urban flooding, especially in areas with clogged storm drains.

Another significant storm is expected over the weekend with renewed gusty winds and heavy rains that may be enough to cause some rivers to flood, especially on the Olympic Peninsula and North Cascades.

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