Olympic National Park East District Ranger Mark O'Neill keeps watch to direct traffic at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and state Highway 112 west of Port Angeles after park officials closed U.S. 101 around Lake Crescent because of an overflowing culvert after high winds and heavy rains overtook the area Tuesday. Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

Olympic National Park East District Ranger Mark O'Neill keeps watch to direct traffic at the intersection of U.S. Highway 101 and state Highway 112 west of Port Angeles after park officials closed U.S. 101 around Lake Crescent because of an overflowing culvert after high winds and heavy rains overtook the area Tuesday. Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

UPDATE — Some 10,000 without power in East Jefferson County; most Clallam County outages on east side of county

As many as 10,000 customers were without electrical power in East Jefferson County as of 7:30 tonight, while in Clallam County, some 2,700 remained in the dark as of 8:15 p.m.

Winds were still high in East Jefferson County, said Jim Parker, manager of the Jefferson County Public Utility District, and most of Port Townsend remained dark because of a transmission line outage.

Power also was cut to the Port Townsend Paper Co., mill, he said, as well as to Port Ludlow, Kala Point, Coyle and Gardiner, with scattered outages elsewhere throughout the county.

“Trees across transmission lines are causing a lot of the outages,” Parker said.

“We’re hoping once we get them cleared, we can bring a lot of people back on.”

However, that could take awhile.

“The current outage is widespread,” the PUD warned in an announcement late this afternoon.

“One or two days or more is possible. Some PUD customers need to be prepared for up to several days without power.”

Parker said that many counties throughout the region lost power in the windstorm and that it is difficult to find extra crews to bring in.

“This could be quite a little while before we get everybody back up,” Parker said.

To report an outage in East Jefferson County, call 360-385-5800.

The good news in Jefferson County is that, although rivers in the Brinnon area are running high, the fire department hasn’t received calls for help from people threatened by flooding.

The Duckabush and Dosewallips rivers, which have flooded homes in the past during heavy rainfall, have been swollen and have overflowed their banks on some side roads, said Nehemiah Killam, Brinnon firefighter, at about 7 p.m.

But the department has had no calls from people who needed help due to flooding, he said.

In Clallam County, of the 2,700 customers who were without electrical power at 8:15 p.m., most were in eastern Clallam County, in Diamond Point, Agnew, Blyn, Sequim, Sunland and Carlsborg as well as scattered outages elsewhere in the area, said Mike Howe, Clallam Public Utility District spokesman.

About 425 were without power in Neah Bay, he said.

“Crews are responding to all outages and are working as quickly as possible,” Howe said. “ High winds and inclement weather are the cause.”

An estimated time of restoration was not available.

To report outages, call 360-452-9771 or 800-542-7859.

The storm was widespread, reaching across much of Washington state to northern Idaho and south to Portland, Ore., the Associated Press reported.

A woman in her 50s was killed when a tree toppled taking down power lines as it fell in Spokane this afternoon and a man in his mid-20s was killed when a tree crushed his car as he was driving near Sultan in Snohomish County, the Associated Press reported.

Puget Sound Energy reported more than 214,000 customers without power in its Western Washington region this evening as trees toppled onto roadways and power lines.

Energy company Avista Corp. said more than 113,000 customers had lost power around Spokane and in northern Idaho.

Rattlesnake Mountain, a 3,500-foot ridge that overlooks the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southwestern Washington, saw wind gusts as high as 113 mph, the Tri-City Herald reported.

In Oregon, thousands were reportedly without power in the greater Portland area and a flood watch was issued for the northern Oregon coast through Wednesday.

Earlier story

By James Casey

and Leah Leach

Peninsula Daily News

About 9,000 electrical customers are without power across the North Olympic Peninsula, with most of Port Townsend in the dark and Clallam County outages mostly concentrated on the east side of the county.

Forks, which suffered a power outage earlier today as a windstorm hit the Peninsula, had power reconnected as of about 4 p.m., according to Michael Howe, spokesman for the Clallam County Public Utility District.

As of 4:45 p.m., about 6,000 Jefferson County Public Utility District customers were without power, said Jim Parker, general manager.

About 3,000 were in the dark in the eastern part of Clallam County, stretching from Port Angeles to Diamond Point, Howe said.

Areas include Diamond Point, Agnew, Blyn, Sequim areas, Sunland, Carlsborg and scattered other areas.

“Crews are responding as quickly as they can and have been working most of the day addressing the extreme weather condition related outages,” Howe said.

He could provide no estimated time of restoration.

U.S. Highway 101 was closed this afternoon until 3:49 p.m. around the shore of Lake Crescent by high water over the roadway, while the Hood Canal Bridge was shut down for several hours before reopening.

The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic at 10:41 a.m. as white-capped waves lashed the north side of the span, driven by winds gusting to 44 miles per hour. It reopened at about 2 p.m.

The route around Lake Crescent was shut shortly before 1 p.m.

The Quillayute Valley School District canceled its 6 p.m. meeting today due to the weather. The meeting, to discuss replacing the Forks High School playing fields and stadium, will be rescheduled for a later date, said Lindsey Wallerstedt, assistant to the superintendent.

The Blue Whole Gallery’s holiday art open house, which was set from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, has been postponed until Friday because of the weather.

The free open house at the gallery at 229 W. Washington St., has been reset for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.

Across the North Olympic Peninsula, a flood warning remained in effect through 4 a.m. Thursday as rain was forecast to continue until Thursday night.

As of early this afternoon, only the Elwha River had risen above its banks south of U.S. Highway 101, climbing 1.6 feet above flood stage.

A gale warning with southwest winds was in effect from the Pacific Coast across the Cascade Mountains and onto the Idaho Panhandle. A high surf advisory was in effect through tonight on the Pacific Coast.

Wind gusts at noon today were clocked at 48 mph at Ellis Mountain near Sappho; 47 mph at Quillayute Airport; 21 mph at Fairchild International airport; and 45 mph at Pleasant Harbor on Hood Canal. Winds gusted to 56 mph in Victoria, B.C.

Also as of noon, 2.21 inches of rain had fallen in 24 hours at Quillayute Airport near La Push; 2.30 inches at Forks; 1.13 inches at Fairchild International Airport, Port Angeles; and 0.64 inches at the McDonald Creek bridge across U.S. Highway 101 near Sequim.

On eastbound state Highway 112, downed trees at Bull Man Creek had been cleared at 12:26 p.m. Trees likewise were cleared from the westbound lane of U.S. Highway 101 at Milepost 234.1 near South Shore Road at Lake Quinault.

Across the Peninsula, rain was forecast to continue through Thursday night, with partly sunny conditions predicted Friday before a chance of rain resumes through Monday.

_______

Reporter James Casey can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jcasey@peninsuladailynews.com.

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