Neah Bay and other points west of Sekiu in Clallam County and parts of Jefferson County remained without power late this afternoon (Friday) as utility district crews continued to wrestle with the impacts of a windstorm-driven outage that hit the North Olympic Peninsula beginning at 7:45 a.m. Thursday.
As of 6 p.m. today, 1,732 electrical customers remained without power after high winds drove trees into power lines on Thursday.
Winds are not expected to exceed 24 mph tonight through Christmas Day in Clallam and Jefferson counties, according to the National Weather Service.
A slight chance of rain is forecast for Port Angeles, Forks, Neah Bay and Port Townsend on Christmas Day, with Sequim partly sunny.
There were 1,080 Clallam Public Utility District customers without electricity late this afternoon, including 1,030 form Neah Bay west to Sekiu, according to PUD’s outage map at www.clallampud.net.
“There are a couple of isolated outages at other places,” PUD spokeswoman Nicole Clark said.
Clark said crews this afternoon were mapping areas that needed to be cleared of trees and lines repaired beginning early Saturday morning.
“Power lines are down,” she said.
“Trees and lines are down.”
Martin Berntsen of Sekiu said late this afternoon that power lines were down “everywhere” from Hoko Cutoff Road to Ozette.
Berntsen, a volunteer who was at Sunsets West Co-op in Clallam Bay, said power was restored by this morning to Clallam Bay.
About 5,000 customers each lost power in Clallam and Jefferson counties on Thursday.
There were 652 households without power in Jefferson County as of this evening.
“PUD crews and contractors are currently working across the county to restore power where they can,” Will O’Donnell, Jefferson County PUD spokesman, said in an email earlier this afternoon.
The outages were concentrated in the Quilcene and Port Townsend ZIP code areas.
Crews were expected to restore power on Marrowstone Island and in Oak Bay later tonight, he said.
“Because of the nature of the damages from yesterday’s storm, some outages may extend into the weekend.
“We urge customers to seek help from neighbors, friends and families, or to find other temporary accommodations, if they do not have adequate resources to stay in their homes without power for another evening.”
Additional crews will also arrive later tonight to assist those still experiencing outages in Jefferson County.
Lars Lovik, manager of Washburn General Store in Neah Bay, on the Makah Tribe’s reservation, said the store was remaining open with help from a generator.
It provided enough power to run a few lights and the checkout stands.
“It’s cold and dark, but we’re open,” he said.
Washburn had not run out of goods, including batteries and bread, Lovik said.
“A few people lost some roofs, and there’s definitely been some damage, but everyone is staying pretty positive about it.”
A few people had gas cans stolen, he added.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].
Story published Thursday
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS and electric utility crews scrambled today as they battled severe weather on the North Olympic Peninsula.
They were winning the fight as of this afternoon.
But after a quiet Friday, a “relatively strong” weather system is expected to move into Clallam and Jefferson counties Saturday night and Sunday, National Weather Service Meteorologist Kirby Cook said Thursday afternoon.
“It looks like the active weather pattern will continue through the holiday,” he said.
“We certainly won’t be high and dry. That means rain, wind, all of the above.”
About 7,188 public utility customers remained without electrical power as of about 5 p.m. in Clallam and Jefferson counties. At the wind storm’s peak, some 10,000 Peninsula customers lost power.
Olympic National Park also closed U.S. Highway 101 at Lake Crescent from 11:30 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. from East Beach Road to Fairholme due to severe weather conditions.
Highway 101 around along the Hood Canal was reopened at about 1 p.m., allowing motorists to go around the bridge until it reopened, State Police spokeswoman Trooper Chelsea Hodgson tweeted.
The Hood Canal Bridge was closed from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. because of high winds that blew water over the bridge deck.
A tidal surge flooded parts of 3 Crabs Road with about 1 foot of water and affected about 12 residences.
Fire district, deputies and search-and-rescue crews were on their way at 12:45 p.m. today to help evacuate residences, said Ron Cameron, Clallam County undersheriff and emergency management director.
Water receded about an hour later at 1:40 p.m., Cameron said.
Dan Orr, assistant chief for Clallam County Fire District 3, said residents were asked to voluntarily evacuate. Conditions were not life-threatening and no evacuations were mandatory.
“We asked for voluntary evacuation and no one took us up on that,” Orr said.
Resident Dwayne Pettett, 55, said he has never seen water levels rise like they did today.
“This is the worst I’ve seen it,” he said.
High tide reached a level of 8 feet, Orr said, but water levels started to recede at about 2 p.m. Orr said high tide is expected to return again at 3:30 a.m. Friday at a level of 7.5 feet.
“We will have plans in place to get folks out or help them with flooding if they have those issues,” he said.
In a rare occurrence, two sailings of the Black Ball Ferry Line’s MV Coho were canceled today from Port Angeles and Victoria.
The cancellations were due to weather conditions in Port Angeles and the position of a barge moored at the Inner Harbour in Victoria, company Vice President Ryan Malane said.
Malane said the last cancellation of a Coho sailing was in 1996 due to a blizzard, he said.
In Port Townsend, wind pushed water onto Sims Way, spraying vehicles near the ferry terminal entrance. Several parking lots were flooded. Waves crashed onto the sides of waterfront buildings.
Some people were pushed along by wind gusts. Roof tiles blown off the Gallery 9 building landed on Water Street.
Clallam Transit did not operate its No. 14 Forks route on inbound or outbound trips during the closure of Highway 101 at Lake Crescent. Mid-day bus runs to and from Forks, La Push and Neah Bay also were canceled.
Port Angeles School District cancelled all middle and high school after-school activities, including an at-home boys’ high school basketball game against Bremerton that will be rescheduled, as will other athletic events.
The National Weather Service recorded peak gusts of 53 mph near Port Townsend, 52 mph near Forks and 36 mph in Port Angeles this morning. It said that a 72 mph gust was reported on Hurricane Ridge and a 117 mph gust was reported from Mount Baker. It reported winds of 75 mph 65 miles offshore west of La Push.
Washington State Ferries canceled most of the runs for the day between Port Townsend and Coupeville.
According to Justin Fujioki, spokesperson for the state ferries system, winds during the first cancellation at 11 a.m. Thursday were sustained at 43 mph and gusting to 53 mph. Waves were above 6 feet.
“Winds remained around that speed and got a little stronger as the morning progressed,” he said. “As of 1 p.m., terminal staff in Port Townsend noticed the wind slowly easing. “
In Discovery Bay an 80-foot sailboat was blown aground near Beckett Point at about 1:30 p.m. today, the Coast Guard said, adding that there was no active oil sheen coming from the unoccupied vessel.
Global Diving & Salvage had been contacted to salvage the vessel.
The Coast Guard said less than 100 gallons of fuel were on board. The state Department of Ecology was notified.
Hodgson said on Twitter that a trampoline was trapped between power lines around Grays Harbor.
Some 350 customers were without power on the west side of Port Angeles and around the Race Street area for about four hours until about 3:30 p.m., Public Works Director James Burke said.
PUD reported 545 customers without power in the unincorporated area west of Port Angeles this morning.
Burke had advised drivers earlier to stay away from the intersection of Race Street and Park Avenue south of downtown Port Angeles because of a tree that was leaning over a transmission line.
The Clallam County Public Utility District reported 4,404 customers without electrical power as of 5:21 p.m. today. At the peak, it reported 5,116 without power.
Outages were almost exclusively in the West End, in Neah Bay, Clallam Bay, Sekiu and Forks — with about 185 in Jefferson County.
The Clallam County PUD reported that the Bonneville Power Administration had a fault on its transmission line into Sappho that created an outage for the West End.
More than 3,200 customers were without power in Forks and north of the city at 2:45 p.m.
In the Neah Bay and Sekiu areas, more than 1,400 were without power as of 2:45 p.m.
The Jefferson County Public Utility District had reported 2,782 customers outages as of 5:22 p.m. today. At the peak, 5,501 customers lost power.
The outages were centered in the Port Ludlow area and southwest of Port Ludlow, with about 500 scattered north of that community and the Port Townsend area.
“Overall, the biggest issues we saw in those two counties was due to wind knocking over trees and trees landing on power lines,” Hodgson said in an email.
To report outages or hazards, call 360-452-9771 or 800-542-7859 in Clallam County and 360-385-5800.
The Olympic National Park reported temporary closures because of the storm and clearing activities of Graves Creek, Heart O’the Hills, Kalaloch, Mora, North Fork, Ozette, Queets and Sol Duc.
Statewide, more than 140,000 households and businesses lost power today as strong winds toppled trees, closed roads and even trapped a trampoline between power lines in western Washington, The Associated Press reported.
The power outages included 38,000 in Seattle, 50,000 in Snohomish County, 13,000 in Tacoma and 7,000 around Ocean Shores. Puget Sound Energy’s outage website was down Thursday afternoon but thousands of their customers around the region also had lost power.
Schools in Winlock shut down due to a power outage and all afternoon preschool classes were canceled.
A high wind warning was in effect for much of the Peninsula into this evening.
Mountain snow is not a major factor this time around as this storm has tapped into some warm, tropical air and thus snow levels will rise above pass level for rain there instead of heavy snows, The Associated Press said.