A moderate windstorm that lasted most of Monday knocked out power to thousands of homes in Cowlitz County, but the storm reserved its biggest punch for the coastal and Puget Sound regions.
Coastal residents should expect another round of strong winds Tuesday.
The first outages were reported in Cowlitz County at 1:30 in the morning, and new blackouts popped up continually throughout the day, said Cowlitz PUD spokeswoman Alice Dietz.
At about noon Monday, 800 residents were without power across the county, with 400 outages reported near Kalama and another 400 in the Sunset Way and Longview Heights areas, according to the PUD.
Other blackouts were reported in Ryderwood/Vader area (300 outages); Delameter area west of Castle Rock (40); city of Castle Rock (120); the area between Silver Lake and Castle Rock (800); and the Baker’s Corner/West Longview area (560).
Widespread outages throughout the county Monday might have resulted in slower response times, Dietz said.
Nearly 400 people were still blacked out in the county as 6 p.m. approached, but forecasters expected the windstorm to end by 7 p.m. The worst of the winds occurred during midday, with gusts at Kelso Airport peaking at about 31 mph. For most of the day, gusts hovered between 20 and 30 mph.
More rain and and gusty conditions are expected for the Kelso-Longview area Tuesday, but the peak gusts are only expected to hit the low 20-mph range.
As usual, winds in coastal areas carried more punch. Gusts started to pick up just after midnight Monday morning and consistently exceeded 30 and 40 mph throughout the day. At Astoria airport, Monday’s peak gust hit 55 mph between 9 and 10 a.m. There, too, winds were abating as evening fell, but forecasters expect another blustery day there Tuesday. Rain could be heavy at times. Winds could gust as high as 55 mph again.
There was a frightful moment when a falling tree struck a vehicle and power line at 2:50 p.m. in the Stella area of west of Longview, according to Washington State Patrol. There were no reported injuries, and the scene was cleared within 30 minutes, WSP said.
Cowlitz Director of Emergency Management Ernie Schnabler said he was happy with the work the PUD was doing to restore power as quickly as they could.
“Our friends from Cowlitz PUD are really busy out there trying to get everything fixed,” he said.
Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office reported that the winds caused outages in east Cathlamet, Puget Island, and in the west end of the county.
This was a garden variety windstorm for Southwest Washington inlanders, but the McChord Air Force Base near Tacoma recorded gusts exceeding 50 mph between 2 and 2:30 p.m. Monday, and gusts stayed above 30 mph throughout the day. Similar conditions were recorded in Seattle and Everett.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, Puget Sound Energy reported 25,000 customers were without electricity overnight Sunday and Monday.