Amy Mattix, a visitor use assistant for Olympic National Park, closes the gate on the road to Hurricane Ridge on Thursday after officials decided to close portions of the park in anticipation of a series of storms approaching the North Olympic Peninsula. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Amy Mattix, a visitor use assistant for Olympic National Park, closes the gate on the road to Hurricane Ridge on Thursday after officials decided to close portions of the park in anticipation of a series of storms approaching the North Olympic Peninsula. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Forecasters say storm headed toward Peninsula on Saturday could be among strongest

National Weather Service: Residents in Western Washington should prepare for widespread power outages as the storm moves into Puget Sound.

PORT ANGELES — The storm predicted to hit the Olympic Peninsula on Saturday could pack a punch.

The storm, remnants of Super Typhoon Songda, has a more than 50 percent chance of being one of the strongest storms in Pacific Northwest history, said Andy Haner, a National Weather Service meteorologist, who had previously given it a 1-in-3-shot.

He said residents in Western Washington need to prepare for power outages as the storm moves into Puget Sound on Saturday.

Center of storm

“The storm’s center is coming directly across the Peninsula [on] Saturday evening,” he said.

Models had previously shown the storm heading north over Vancouver Island instead of into Puget Sound.

As the storm approaches, Port Angeles could see sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph winds, with gusts up to 50 mph from the east.

Once the low center passes, the Olympics should shadow Port Angeles from the southerly winds.

With the storm tracking toward Puget Sound, the east end of the Peninsula could see stronger winds than previously thought. Port Townsend could be hit with 35 to 40 mph sustained winds with gusts around 60 mph, he said.

The West End could see easterly winds gusting up to 50 mph as the storm approaches Saturday. Once it passes, Haner said, the area is looking at 25 to 35 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 50 mph.

It is the second of two storms predicted to hit the Olympic Peninsula. The first storm had been expected to hit Thursday night.

A low-center was tracking just off the coast Thursday.

Haner said the coast, La Push, Forks and Quileute areas could have seen 40 to 45 mph sustained winds with gusts as high as 65 mph Thursday night.

As the storm approached, though, Sequim had already seen some of the early effects.

Staff with the city of Sequim’s Public Works Department closed the Olympic Discovery Trail across the Johnson Creek Trestle between Lofgrin Road and Whitefeather Way on Thursday afternoon due to a fallen tree.

David Garlington, public works director, said he wanted to remove the tree from the trestle before high winds kicked in Thursday night and further damaged the trestle.

He said high winds Wednesday night likely brought the tree down.

Additionally, as stormy weather approaches, city staff asked residents to keep storm drains near their homes clear of leaves and debris to assist with stormwater flow. If there is a problem, residents should contact the Public Works Department at 360-683-4908 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, or after hours at 360-912-7059.

The city of Port Angeles put out the same request for keeping catch basins clear. If residents see a catch basin filled with debris below the grate, or if they are unable to clear a basin, they can notify Port Angeles Public Works &Utilities Department at 360-417-4745.

Residents had begun preparing for the storms as well by Thursday. At least one store, The Home Depot in Sequim, was already out of generators by Thursday afternoon.

Olympic National Park staff is closing a number of roads and campgrounds throughout the park because of the storms.

To prevent the possibility of visitors being trapped or injured by storm damage or falling debris, the park closed Hurricane Ridge and Hoh roads Thursday. The park’s stretch of Mora Road was already closed to all entry due to construction.

The following campgrounds were also closed Thursday: Mora, Kalaloch, Hoh, Ozette, Queets, Heart o’ the Hills, Quinault North Fork and Quinault Graves Creek campgrounds.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

Matthew Nash, a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, contributed to this report.

Staff with the city of Sequim’s Public Works Department closed the Olympic Discovery Trail across the Johnson Creek Trestle between Lofgrin Road and Whitefeather Way on Thursday afternoon due to a fallen tree. (Matt Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Staff with the city of Sequim’s Public Works Department closed the Olympic Discovery Trail across the Johnson Creek Trestle between Lofgrin Road and Whitefeather Way on Thursday afternoon due to a fallen tree. (Matt Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

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