2 hurt, thousands without power due to Seattle windstorm

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by KING 5 News and Associated Press

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 2, 2013 at 8:13 PM

SEATTLE - Two people were hurt and thousands of people in Western Washington were without power when a strong windstorm blew through on Saturday.

A 48-year-old Granite Falls man was seriously injured when a tree fell on his car on SR 203 and a 2-year-old was hurt when a branch fell from a tree at Roosevelt Way NE and NE 42nd street in Seattle.

The WSDOT closed the SR 520 floating bridge for two hours because of high winds and waves.

Brad Husick lives down the street from the bridge. He said he could hear the bridge creaking.

"I've lived here 12 years, and these are some of the highest waves I've seen,” he said.

Troopers said as many as 50 cars were abandoned on the westbound lanes. Troopers on foot escorted the people back to their cars.

The Department of Transportation said criteria for closing the bridge to traffic and opening the draw span is 50 mph gusts sustained for 15 minutes. When a 40 mph gust is sustained for one minute, a warning alarm calls crews to the bridge for inspection and monitoring.

DOT says they make every attempt to reduce disruption to drivers but in an emergency they have to close the bridge quickly.

The last time the 520 bridge was closed for wind and waves was Dec. 14, 2006.

I-90 remained open on Saturday. Although it had waves crashing over it, it is a much bigger structure. The last time it was closed was the Inauguration Day storm of 1993.

Thousands without power

Puget Sound Energy said more than 105,000 customers were without power in various parts of Western Washington at the height of the storm. The utility said strong winds were taking down branches and trees, triggering the outages. Seattle City Light reported outages affecting about 40,000 customers.

Eastbound US 2 was closed between Zeke's Drive-In and Anderson Creek Bridge because of trees in down in the road.

The National Weather Service issued a wind warning for much of Saturday covering coastal areas in Washington and Oregon.

Strongest gusts recorded Saturday:

  • North Bend - 68 mph
  • Seattle - 58 mph
  • Renton - 57 mph

A wind advisory was in effect until 8 p.m. Saturday for the Southwest Interior, East Puget Sound Lowlands, Seattle/Bremerton Area, Tacoma area and the Lower Chehalis Valley area.

Elevations above 2,500 feet were expected to get between six and 11 inches of snow. Some areas in the higher elevations of the mountains could get up to two feet of snow.

A rain shadow could reduce showers over central Puget Sound, KING 5 Meteorologist Jeff Renner said.

"Colder air will drive snow levels sharply downward, especially Saturday night into Sunday morning. Expect wintry driving conditions in all of the passes," said Renner.

Showers are likely to slowly diminish Sunday, remaining most likely north of Seattle and along/near the Cascade foothills. Snow could occur as low as 2,500 feet Sunday in the mountains so the snow could continue at all the passes, including Snoqualmie Pass. Between two and eight inches of snow will be possible.



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