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Power outages spike in Thurston County after Monday’s snowfall

Using twin cranes, a crew from Ron’s Stump Removal & Tree Service, remove a series of large sections from a 100-foot Red Oak tree in the 1400 block of Legion Way in Olympia Sunday morning. A nearby homeowner had noticed cracks in several large branches earlier and after an inspection its removal was deemed necessary, according to arborist Kevin McFarland from Sound Urban Forestry. He added that the tree damage was weather-related.
Using twin cranes, a crew from Ron’s Stump Removal & Tree Service, remove a series of large sections from a 100-foot Red Oak tree in the 1400 block of Legion Way in Olympia Sunday morning. A nearby homeowner had noticed cracks in several large branches earlier and after an inspection its removal was deemed necessary, according to arborist Kevin McFarland from Sound Urban Forestry. He added that the tree damage was weather-related. sbloom@theolympian.com

Puget Sound Energy had whittled the number of Thurston County customers without power to about 1,000 on Monday, but a new storm caused that number to rise again Tuesday, a spokesman said.

The utility was trying to address about 3,500 outages in the county on Tuesday, Andrew Padula said.

One of the culprits: A substation in the Madrona Beach area went down Monday after a tree fell into it, he said.

Outages spiked throughout the region, but were especially bad in Thurston, Kitsap and King counties on Tuesday, he said.

It’s been a tough few days in Thurston County. Snow began falling Friday and piled up to about 18 inches through Monday, according to the National Weather Service. That was followed by rain Monday night, producing a new challenge: slick and slushy conditions, intermixed with walls of snow, which made driving difficult.

Over the weekend, peak outages in the county rose to 32,000 customers, Padula said. An additional challenge for PSE, he said, was accessing side streets buried in snow. In one case, a crew got stuck in the snow.

And there’s a new challenge for the Olympia area: After a day of rain and rising temperatures, the overnight lows could dip below freezing, changing the puddles to ice and possibly producing snow showers.

The forecast calls for a 30-40 percent chance of rain or snow through Wednesday night, followed by a 70 percent chance of a rain/snow mixture on Thursday.

Thursday night through Friday night calls for rain, with highs in the mid 40s.

Rolf has worked at The Olympian since August 2005. He covers breaking news, the city of Lacey and business for the paper. Rolf graduated from The Evergreen State College in 1990.
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