After a surge of outages Tuesday morning that affected 20,692 customers, primarily in the Sequim and Agnew areas, Clallam County Public Utility District crews were working hardest on the West End by late afternoon while Jefferson County experienced its largest outages Monday night and Tuesday morning.
A strong low-pressure system had moved into the Vancouver islands, followed by a cold front from the south, said Carly Kovacik, meteorologist with National Weather Service of Seattle. That brought strong winds along the coast that slowed as the storm moved inland.
The largest outage on the North Olympic Peninsula was due to a fault on a Bonneville Power Administration line, said Nicole Clark, communications manager for the Clallam County PUD.
BPA rerouted power through a transmission line in Port Angeles, and power was restored to the bulk of the Sequim customers of the Clallam PUD by about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.
With “trees and lines down all over the county,” power outages continued throughout the county on Tuesday until the primary outages were on the West End by 5 p.m., with 997 customers without electrical power, Clark said.
Of those, 789 were in Neah Bay, 281 were in Forks and 65 were in Sekiu, Clark said.
South of Forks, a phone contractor also was repairing a fiber optic line that stymied cell phone coverage for CenturyLink, Clark said at 5 p.m.
Jefferson County was mopping up scattered outages late Tuesday afternoon after 1,000 customers were without power in Port Ludlow on Monday night, and 660 outages were reported in the Cape George area on Tuesday morning.
By 5 p.m., two customers remained without power in Oak Bay and three had outages in Quilcene, according to the Jefferson PUD website.
“As seen in Clallam, the possibility for more outages was certainly there given wind speeds. Luckily the winds weren’t as bad as predicted in Jefferson County,” said Will O’Donnell, communications manager for Jefferson County PUD.
The Cape George outage, caused by a branch on a line, lasted only half an hour.
“We had a few scattered outages later in the day, but none affecting more than 40 customers, and most under five,” O’Donnell said.
Wind gusts on Tuesday were strongest near La Push, reaching 62 miles per hour at 7:42 a.m., followed by Port Townsend with gusts reaching 35 miles per hour at 9:35 a.m., Kovacik said.
Gusts in Port Angeles and Sequim peaked at 21 miles per hour, she said.
Strong rain is expected to continue this morning with scattered showers in the afternoon.
Snow levels are expected to drop to between 3,000 and 4,000 feet.
Thursday and Friday will see scattered showers but won’t be as “wet and windy” as Tuesday, Kovacik said.
A high wind warning was in effect Tuesday for Port Townsend and other cities on Admiralty Inlet until 6 p.m. as well as on the West End, with Forks, Beaver, La Push and Neah Bay included.
Gusts of 60 mph were forecast by the National Weather Service on the east side of the North Olympic Peninsula while gusts of 50 mph were predicted for the West End.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at [email protected]
Jefferson County Reporter Zach Jablonski contributed to this story.