The Arctic cold front that has Western Washington in a deep freeze should begin to loosen its grip Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Today, southwesterly winds should start replacing the bone-chilling northeast winds that kicked up Sunday and installed a weather front that was expected to send temperatures plunging into the low teens Monday night in South Sound.
Although wind velocity Sunday paled in comparison with the late November windstorms that stung South Sound, the winds did leave about 15,700 Puget Sound Energy customers without power about 6 p.m. Sunday, utility spokeswoman Dorothy Bracken said.
The power outages ran from 3 a.m. Sunday to midnight and were completely repaired by 5 a.m. Monday, she said.
The northeast winds exposed weaknesses in trees and limbs different from the southwest winds that hit the region before Thanksgiving, creating a new set of problems for utility crews, she said.
Puget Sound Energy crews were bracing for potential record or near-record power demand from electrical and natural gas customers by this morning, Bracken said.
Electric and natural gas supplies are in place to meet a surge in demand, she said.