PORT TOWNSEND — Multiple electrical power outages, spin-outs and road closures kept county and state officials busy during the snowfall this week.
About a foot of snow blanketed the southern parts of East Jefferson County, shutting down several area roads and felling tree limbs, causing power outages for up to 1,000 Jefferson County Public Utility District customers.
By Thursday afternoon, the vast majority of customers had power again, with teams addressing small outages effecting six or less places, said Will O’Donnell, Jefferson County PUD communications manager.
The Clallam County Public Utility District reported 137 outages in West Jefferson County as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Power had been restored to all customers in the area by 3 p.m.
Port Angeles received nearly two feet of snow late Tuesday into Wednesday, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network said. The Sequim area was reported to have had between 5.6 and 8.0 inches of new snow. An official reading from the Forks area showed 5.5 inches.
After slowing for several hours on Wednesday, the storm brought 4-6 inches more to East Jefferson County in the afternoon. No new significant snowfall happened between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, said meteorologist Gary Schneider of the National Weather Service in Seattle.
The State Patrol reported 15 crashes, 11 disabled vehicles and one abandoned vehicle in Jefferson County on Wednesday afternoon, said Chelsea Hodgson, State Patrol district 8 public information officer, on Thursday.
The State Patrol had shifted extra resources and units to Clallam and Jefferson on Wednesday after the heavy snowfall the counties received, she added.
“Keeping our roads safe and clear during snow events is achieved through a team effort,” Hodgson said. “That team includes many, such as emergency responders, [state department of transportation], utility crews, tow operators, and the motoring public.
“Motorists play a key role by, if choosing to drive, choosing to slow down, having patience and staying alert to road conditions as they change.”
Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies also were busy throughout Wednesday into Thursday morning, responding to “dozens” of stuck cars —only three with reportable damage — two “jack-knifed” semi-trucks blocking state Highway 19 near Airport Road for more than an hour, and closing a part of state Highway 116 between Port Hadlock and Flagler Road, Undersheriff Andy Pernsteiner said.
Charlene Pinks, 57, of Quilcene, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries after her vehicle slid into a ditch near Center Road on Thursday morning, Pernsteiner said.
Hospital officials said Pinks’s condition was serious but stable in the intensive care unit Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, Port Townsend and Chimacum School Districts were operating as usual, Quilcene School District was delayed by two hours and Brinnon School District was cancelled for the day, officials said.
The weather forecast for today and Saturday is for rainfall overnight into Saturday morning, tapering off by Saturday afternoon in East Jefferson County, Schneider said.
Winds between 20 and 35 miles per hour are also expected tonight, with possible gusts up to 50 miles per hour, Schneider said.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].