Wind, rain cut power to 3,600

Staff reportJanuary 12, 2014 

Nearly 3,600 Puget Sound Energy customers in Thurston County were without power late Saturday afternoon due to driving rain and gusting winds that cut power to as many as 75,000 customers in Western Washington.

Trees and tree limbs pushed by wind gusts as high as 50 mph took down power lines throughout the Puget Sound area, particularly in heavily forested suburban and rural areas such as the Gig Harbor Peninsula.

Rain and wind were expected to continue Sunday, though not in the quantity or velocity experienced Saturday.

In the evening hours Saturday, several readers on The Olympian’s Facebook page posted about losing power because of the weather, and some had no power during the Seattle Seahawks’ NFL playoff game against the New Orleans Saints. Commenters reported specific power outages in Yelm, Rochester, Summit Lake and Olympia’s Boston Harbor area.

In one post around 4 p.m., Summit Lake resident Kelly Nickerson Lothian Johnson said power had been out for two hours.

“Discovered that the generator we bought last summer is very limited,” she posted. “But hubby has his priorities: Go Hawks!”

PSE reported that as many as 40,000 of its customers in Western Washington were without power Saturday morning because of 651 outages that disabled two substations and 14 circuits in the power company’s service area.

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory and a warning of possible flooding throughout much of Western Washington for Sunday morning following heavy rainfall that began Friday evening. The flood watch includes the Skokomish River in Mason County.

The Weather Service said rain could continue through Sunday. The heavy rainfall will result in rapid rises in rivers, forecasters said, with cresting near flood stage.

A flood watch means conditions are favorable for flooding but that flooding is not imminent or occurring.

Staff writers Andy Hobbs, John Gillie and Rob Carson contributed to this report.

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