Strong wind gusts whipped through the Puget Sound area and down the coast Tuesday, snapping branches and taking down utility poles, and reportedly killing one person and wiping out power for thousands of homes.
Winds ranged from 30 to 40 mph throughout most of the region, with peak gusts at 48 mph in Seattle, said meteorologist Matthew Cullen of National Weather Service Seattle. The wind storm came from a very strong low-pressure system that moved into northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia earlier Tuesday, combined with a front that extended across the region, he said.
Friday Harbor also saw 48 mph winds, while Olympia and Quillayute hit 45 to 46 mph gusts.
“It was pretty consistent up and down the coast,” Cullen said.
The person who died during the windstorm was clearing out a driveway on the Key Peninsula when a tree fell on them, Key Peninsula Fire spokeswoman Anne Nesbit told Q13 News Tuesday. No further information was immediately available.
Puget Sound Energy had responded to more than 77,000 outages by 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, caused primarily by tree branches blown into power lines, the utility service said. Seattle City Light reported more than 14,000 outages in southeast Seattle, northwest Seattle and Shoreline on Tuesday afternoon, though most had been restored by the evening.
State transportation officials also shut down several highways — including Highway 162 near Orting, Highway 121 in Tumwater and Highway 167 near Tacoma — Tuesday to clear away downed power lines and debris, the state Department of Transportation said on Twitter.
Cullen said the gusts were expected to continue to wind down as Tuesday night progressed and stay calmer on Wednesday.
Some showers are expected with a light breeze Wednesday, while Thursday should stay mostly dry with some morning clouds that are expected to clear in the afternoon, Cullen said. There’s another chance of rain Friday, as well as a mix of sun and clouds, he added.
“We’re just getting to that time of year … and making that transition into fall,” he said.