Clallam County residents Sunday were dealing with the consequences of Friday’s windstorm, with some still without power while others cleared debris.
Crews from the city of Port Angeles, Clallam Public Utility District and from cable companies continued work to restore power and cable services to households that were still in the dark.
Strong winds flowing off the Olympic Mountains toppled trees across the county, causing widespread damage, knocked out power for all of Clallam County and triggered a state of emergency in Port Angeles.
Clallam PUD reported Sunday that about 1,609 customers were still without power, primarily in the Port Angeles to Joyce area, and did not provide estimates for when power would be restored.
“This is unprecedented,” said Nicole Clark, PUD spokesperson. “We haven’t had anything like this in over a decade.”
She said the crews, who have been working through the night, faced challenges in getting around the county. Working on lines while the Bonneville Power Administration worked on its downed lines was also a challenge.
She said PUD’s water conservation alert was still in place Sunday.
Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Cameron said the county would begin to assess the damage Monday.
Clallam County would be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance if the damage to public infrastructure exceeds $263,000.
Cameron believes the damage will hit that mark, but work on calculating the total damage has yet to start.
He said that in addition to the infrastructure damages in the county, the county will count the damage on tribal land, the work the Clallam PUD has done and the overtime that people worked.
“We’ll know more tomorrow morning when we have a dialogue with the state,” Cameron said. “They will give a deadline for how much time we have to get the damage assessment done.”
Despite the widespread damage, including trees that fell on homes and vehicles, Cameron said he was unaware of any serious injuries that occurred.
There also were many isolated outages from the east side of Port Angeles to Blyn.
City of Port Angeles crews were continuing to work to restore power to 100 customers who remained without power Sunday, said Public Works Director James Burke.
He said crews were working below Willow Avenue, between the Eighth Street Bridges, near the Eclipse Industrial Park and near Franklin Elementary School. He said the city is in touch with the Port Angeles School District as it works to restore power to the school.
“Fallen trees are affecting the restoration of areas below Willow Avenue,” Burke said.
The Port Angeles Regional Transfer Station at 3501 W. 18th St., will be open Monday until Dec. 29 to accept storm related debris, such as tree limbs and small trees under 4 inches in diameter, at no cost to the customer.
The city said customers who still don’t have power but are in energized neighborhoods might have a tripped main breaker that could be reset.
If that’s not the case, the city is urging people to contact the city’s emergency outage line at 360-417-4726 and leave their name, address and contact information.
Clallam PUD customers should call 360-452-9771.
“Crews working on the specified areas continue to work as quickly and safely as they can, but, can be redirected to tend to emergencies (electrical fire, etc.),” the city said in a statement. “Leaning dead trees giving up to gravity may slow the progress.”
The National Weather Service said a “mountain wave” flowing off the north slopes of the Olympics caused a spike in temperatures and gusts of 60 to 65 mph in the Port Angeles area Friday morning and early afternoon.
Cameron said that though high winds aren’t expected in the forecast, he is concerned about the potential for heavy rain on the West End.
That National Weather Services had forecasted waves on the coast building to 19-12 feet by Sunday evening and issued a high surf advisory.
Meteorologists also predict heavy rain on the West End.
“If that keeps up, we could be looking at flooding of the Bogachiel River,” Cameron said. “We’ll keep an eye on it and see how it goes.”
He said the river was up to 30 feet Sunday and that it floods at 38 feet.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].