Forecast models for Saturday’s windstorm are starting to converge, showing it’s more likely South Sound will be facing the worst-case scenario.
“It’s looking more and more towards that,” said Art Gaebel, meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Seattle on Thursday afternoon.
Gaebel said the newest track is from south to north, hitting southern Vancouver Island. Thurston County would be in the same track as Seattle and could see wind gusts as high as 70 mph, he said.
Models also show the storm arriving a little later than first expected, bringing the highest winds after 5 p.m. Saturday.
Meteorologist Cliff Mass blogged Thursday, saying this is the perfect track for strong winds over Puget Sound, and the worst windstorms intensify rapidly as they make landfall.
Forecasters caution that the storm is still several days away and forecasts can continue to change.
But Puget Sound Energy was already responding to scattered outages throughout Thurston County on Thursday. The largest outage was about 3,000 customers in the South Bay area of Olympia.
Many soldiers, airmen and civilians at Joint Base Lewis-McChord got off work early Thursday and get to report late to work Friday, according to a news release.
Anyone who is not “mission critical” was allowed to leave at 3 p.m. Thursday and doesn’t have to report Friday until two hours later than normal or 10 a.m., whichever is earlier, the release said.
The late arrival on Friday is because base officials expect poor driving conditions after heavy wind and rain hit Western Washington overnight.
In anticipation of the storm, Thurston County announced that its parks will be closed from Friday afternoon through Monday morning, according to a Public Works Issue Alert.
Thurston County owns and maintains five developed parks, several fields and nearly 50 miles of trails. For more information on the park closures, call interim Public Works director Scott Lindblom at 360-867-2271.
The state Department Natural Resources has announced that Margaret McKenny and Middle Waddell campgrounds and trailheads in Capitol Forest also will be closed over the weekend.