A Coast Guard Station Port Angeles boat crew assists in the rescue of 40 kids and six adults who were stranded at Camp David on Lake Crescent on Friday. The kids, whose ages ranged from 13 to 14 years old, were on an annual school trip from Stevens Middle School, out of Port Angeles. (U.S. Coast Guard)

A Coast Guard Station Port Angeles boat crew assists in the rescue of 40 kids and six adults who were stranded at Camp David on Lake Crescent on Friday. The kids, whose ages ranged from 13 to 14 years old, were on an annual school trip from Stevens Middle School, out of Port Angeles. (U.S. Coast Guard)

As first storm arrives, Coast Guard rescues Port Angeles middle school students from Lake Crescent camp

Second storm reaches North Olympic Peninsula on Saturday, bringing high winds and power outages.

A series of storms that began sweeping across the North Olympic Peninsula last week is expected to continue through today with heavy rains and high winds.

Strong winds associated with the storms already have resulted in widespread power outages, felled trees and stranded a group of middle school students at Lake Crescent.

Students from Stevens Middle School in Port Angeles on Friday got to take a ride on a U.S. Coast Guard vessel, something not scheduled as part of a field trip to Camp David Jr. on Lake Crescent.

The group consisted of seventh- and eighth-graders, Tina Smith-O’Hara, Port Angeles School District communications and community relations coordinator, said Saturday.

Coast Guard personnel in a quick response boat, aided by deputies from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, were called to the area Friday afternoon during the first storm of the series after about 40 students and six adults were stranded at the camp when trees fell on Camp David Jr. Road — the only road connecting the camp to U.S. Highway 101 — said Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office.

“The Camp David Jr. Road [was] impassable due to trees being down,” King said.

Additionally, “we had a complete loss of power on the West End, and that included Camp David.”

On Friday evening at the peak of the outages, 2,589 customers were without power.

As of about 11:45 a.m. Saturday as the second storm arrived, nearly all of the West End of Clallam County had power restored, according to Michael Howe, PUD communications and government relations manager, with a couple of single outages remaining that crews continued to work on.

As of 2:15 p.m. Saturday, the PUD was working on small outages in the Hoko Ozette area, Neah Bay area and Clallam Bay. These outages impacted about 70 customers.

There also were outages in the Sequim area off Lost Mountain Road and Taylor Cutoff affecting about 320 customers.

PUD crews were responding and working the areas, with no estimated time of restoration, according to Howe.

With the amount of trees downed on the road leading to Camp David Jr. on Friday, “crews would not be able to clear them to get to the [stranded party] until midmorning or even midday” Saturday, King had said.

“With that amount of kids there, and the fact that emergency services could [only] get to them by boat, the decision was made to go out there and get them and boat them over before we get that major storm coming in” Saturday.

Boat crews retrieved the stranded students and chaperones and transported them from Camp David Jr. on the northern shore of Lake Crescent to the Storm King Ranger Station on the southern shore.

Coast Guard crew members aboard the 29-foot Response Boat-Small II safely ferried groups of seven to nine passengers at a time, with the project wrapping up at about 10:30 p.m., King said.

During the operation, a sheriff’s boat was “standing by as a safety boat in the event that something were to happen … with the primary boat,” King said.

No injuries or medical emergencies were reported.

“This case highlights the flexibility and professionalism of our rescue crews,” said Chief Petty Officer Philip Ketcheson, officer in charge at Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles.

“The crews’ ability to quickly respond to the request for assistance helped ensure the safety of everyone involved and helped them return home.”

The students were participating in a Natural Helpers training conference at Camp David Jr., Smith-O’Hara said.

Natural Helpers is a peer-to-peer helping program, she said, with students assisting other students with communications and problem-solving skills developed at the annual conference at Camp David Jr.

Event organizers “did consider cancellation” when considering the onset of the series of storms, Smith-O’Hara said.

However, “they have done this year to year, and I guess with that, they felt they were prepared and the kids were prepared with the right clothes and blankets.”

Between noon Thursday and noon Saturday, the Olympic Peninsula was drenched by rain.

During that time period, Forks received 3.69 inches of precipitation, Port Angeles saw 1.15 inches, Sequim received 0.33 inches and Port Townsend got 1.33 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

On Saturday night and Sunday, Forks was forecast to receive up to another inch of rain, Port Angeles up to a quarter-inch, Sequim less than a tenth of an inch and Port Townsend up to a quarter-inch.

Port Angeles police on Saturday afternoon asked visitors to leave Ediz Hook after high seas brought water over the Hook’s roadway, according to the Port Angeles Fire Department.

Out on the Pacific Coast, the latest forecasts Saturday indicated that winds will not reach intensities previously reported, nor will waves be as high as previously expected, according to a news release from the Quinault tribe.

Also, the tribe reported that the seawall protecting the village of Taholah was holding.

“Current indications are that we will be experiencing gusts of 75 mph and that waves will max out at 30 feet. Also, the flood watch has been downgraded to a flood advisory,” said Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp.

Sharp said it is still important for people to stay off the beaches during the storm and to be aware of falling trees and limbs, flying debris, slides and road damage. She also advised mariners to stay out of the water and asked tribal members to remain in their homes as much as possible.

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Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at cmcdaniel@peninsuladailynews.com.

Jonathan May, left, and Asia Ladd, both of Port Angeles, watch as wind-driven waves crash onto Hollywood Beach in Port Angeles on Saturday, the result of a weather system that brought heavy rain and high winds to much of Western Washington. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Jonathan May, left, and Asia Ladd, both of Port Angeles, watch as wind-driven waves crash onto Hollywood Beach in Port Angeles on Saturday, the result of a weather system that brought heavy rain and high winds to much of Western Washington. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Tim Roening, assistant superintendent of maintenance for the Olympic Region of the state Department of Transportation, speaks on his phone during an inspection of the U.S. Highway 101 bridge over the Elwha River on Friday. The bridge has been undergoing work to shore up the bridge supports against scouring of the riverbed. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Tim Roening, assistant superintendent of maintenance for the Olympic Region of the state Department of Transportation, speaks on his phone during an inspection of the U.S. Highway 101 bridge over the Elwha River on Friday. The bridge has been undergoing work to shore up the bridge supports against scouring of the riverbed. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Traffic makes it way around a soggy U.S. Highway 101 at Sledge Hammer Point on Lake Crescent west of Port Angeles on Friday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Traffic makes it way around a soggy U.S. Highway 101 at Sledge Hammer Point on Lake Crescent west of Port Angeles on Friday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

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