Whatcom County got an encore of the weekend's wet and blustery weather when a windy cold front lumbered through northwest Washington Monday, Oct. 15.
Dropping snow levels led Department of Transportation officials to announce the road to Artist Point would close by Tuesday morning. A couple miles at the end of Mount Baker Highway are above the expected snow level of 4,000 feet, said DOT spokesman Dustin Terpening.
This is a fairly normal time of the season for that section of the road to close. In the past ice and snow have shut it down as early as late September or as late as near the end of October.
In Bellingham, public works crews were bracing for a follow-up to the first big rain of autumn. During Sunday's storm scattered outages were reported in the city, the worst of them hitting a couple thousand homes, in total, near Toad Lake and the numbered streets east of the freeway. Gusts peaked at 48 mph in the morning hours, with steady rainfall throughout the day, according to the National Weather Service.
Sporadic outages affected a few hundred customers around the county, in the East Smith Road area and in Birch Bay.
But a long dry spell beforehand helped to keep tree roots grounded in the dirt, said Chad Bedlington, maintenance supervisor for Bellingham Public Works.
"So instead of losing trees, you're losing (tree) limbs," Bedlington said. "Very anticlimactic, I know."
On Monday morning a handful of sun breaks squeaked into downtown, but overcast skies and showers - an unfamiliar sight for the past few months - took over in the afternoon. Winds were picking up again, with gusts forecasted at 45 mph.
Bellingham crews were ready to work a 24-hour schedule to tackle trees, big branches and other objects blocking city streets. Strong winds were expected to last late into the night.
The NWS forecast for the rest of the week looks cloudy with a good chance of showers daily. But there might be a slight break in the rain on Wednesday and Thursday.
Reach CALEB HUTTON at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2276.