Storms bring high winds

South Sound residents should brace for two more windstorms this week, National Weather Service forecasters said Tuesday.

Winds of 15 to 25 mph were expected Tuesday night with speeds increasing to about 20 to 30 mph today, meteorologist Dennis D'Amico said.

With soil still soggy from November's record rains, the high winds could lead to downed trees, which often cause power outages.

Puget Sound Energy reported very few problems with electrical lines in Thurston County on Monday, with the major power outages in Kitsap, Whatcom and Island counties, a company spokeswoman said.

The region will get a brief reprieve from the winds Thursday morning, but a second, stronger storm is expected Thursday night through Friday, D'Amico said.

The winds are expected to die down by Saturday, he added.

The two storms also could bring periods of "heavier rain," D'Amico said.

"We don't get dry until the weekend, even though today turned out to be kind of nice," D'Amico said Tuesday.

The storms come on the heels of Monday's strong winds, which were measured at the Olympia Airport as high as 24 mph with gusts of 32 mph, according to the weather service's Web site.

Thurston County to get federal disaster aid money

The White House on Tuesday approved an emergency request for federal flood relief in 11 Washington counties.

The order triggers federal help for individuals and businesses in Thurston, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, King, Lewis, Pierce, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish and Wahkiakum counties.

Assistance can include grants for tempo rary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses.

Applications can be made starting today online at www.fema.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA.