Power slowly returning after rogue windstorm topples trees, blocks streets, cuts power

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The high winds snapped a major branch from the huge signature Elm tree at 8th and Main. It took out a power line on the way down, and just missed hitting a parked car.
The high winds snapped a major branch from the huge signature Elm tree at 8th and Main. It took out a power line on the way down, and just missed hitting a parked car.

Have power yet following Saturday’s windstorm? If you don’t, it may be a while, depending on where you live in Edmonds.

Snohomish County PUD reported that as of 10 a.m. Sunday, approximately 60,000 customers were still without power, largely in the hard-hit Edmonds/Woodway/Mountlake Terrace areas. “Transmission to substations has been restored, a big step that allows crews to work on distribution circuits that directly feed power to homes and businesses,” the PUD announcement said. “It’s still going to take time, as many, many trees need to be cleared and damage repaired. Crews are hard at work, and more contract and mutual-aid crews are on the way to get power restored as quickly as possible!”

A PUD line truck patrols a circuit in Edmonds Saturday to locate damage and make repairs.
A PUD line truck patrols a circuit in Edmonds Saturday to locate damage and make repairs.

The freak early-season windstorm passed through Edmonds shortly after noon on Saturday. Packing gusts up to 60 mph (61 was reported at Paine Field), the storm sent whole trees and branches careening into power lines and homes, destroying property, blocking streets, and leaving homes and businesses in the dark.

WSDOT reported that at the height of the storm, a tree fell across Interstate 5 near Lynnwood, blocking all lanes and backing up traffic for three to five miles.

With traffic lights out Saturday, and drivers treating inoperative signals as 4-way stops, it was slow going along 196th Street in Edmonds.
With traffic lights out Saturday, and drivers treating inoperative signals as 4-way stops, it was slow going along 196th Street in Edmonds.

If you are still without power, here’s some tips to help you stay safe, comfortable and healthy till the power comes back on.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, food in the refrigerator is generally safe for at least 4 hours, and in freezers for up to 24 hours (more details on food safety here. Opening the fridge door will cause food to warm up faster, so keep the door closed as much as possible.
  • Learn how to use the manual override on your garage door.
  • Turn off computers and other electronic equipment. Power can sometimes surge when restored, with the potential to damage sensitive equipment.
  • Do not use your charcoal or propane outdoor barbecue indoors. These give off deadly carbon monoxide.
  • Minimize fire hazards by limiting use of candles.

According to our news partner The Seattle Times, other parts of the region were also hard-hit, with half a million customers without power and at least two deaths. See the coverage here.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

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