Winds picked up about 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, as the second windstorm in two days approached Whatcom County and the sky grew an ominous gray to the north and glowed an eerie yellow to the west as night began to fall.
The National Weather Service issued a high-wind watch for western Washington through 2 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 16. Sunday’s forecast calls for showers with easterly winds to 20 mph as the storm passes.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, winds were blowing at a constant 28 mph with gusts to 44 mph, as measured at Bellingham International Airport.
Even so, fewer than 500 Puget Sound Energy customers remained without power in scattered small outages across Whatcom County at 7:40 p.m. Saturday in the wake of Friday’s high winds and heavy rain.
As many as 14,000 customers had been without electricity in Whatcom County at times Friday, Oct. 14. No major damage or injuries were reported locally from Friday’s storm, which carried winds with gusts to 63 mph and dumped about 2 inches of rain. A flood watch expired without incident Friday, and flooding on the Nooksack River was no longer considered an issue. Standing water from clogged storm drains still could prove hazardous to drivers in scattered locations, officials said.
High tide crested at 8.6 feet after 5 p.m. Saturday at Blaine, and residents in Semiahmoo and Birch Bay were warned about coastal flooding.
PSE officials have taken the lull since Friday’s storm to stage repair crews and support personnel in its Whatcom County and Skagit County service area.
“We’ve taken this time to get ramped up. We have more than 100 tree and line crews ready,” PSE spokeswoman Christina Donegan said Saturday in Bellevue. “I’d expect that (outage) number to go up pretty quickly. It’s an all-hands event.”
Most power outages Friday were caused by falling trees and tree limbs. This early in the autumn season, many trees still hold their leaves, increasing the chance that trees and limbs will topple.
Bellingham police urged residents to report power outages to PSE, rather than call 911, online at pse.com or by calling 888-225-5773.
Bellingham International Airport officials are telling passengers to check with their respective airlines about flight delays or cancellations. The Whatcom Transportation Authority reported no weather-related changes to its bus routes Saturday, but there were a few delays Friday, the WTA tweeted.
On Friday, a 15-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree in Surrey, B.C., during the storm, according to CBC News.
In Washington state, the Department of Transportation warned about the weather’s effect on road and traffic conditions.
Numerous events were canceled in Bellingham and surrounding areas, including a Bellingham Public Library board meeting Friday, open houses Saturday at Bellingham Fire Department stations, and an Oktoberfest celebration at Depot Market Square in downtown Bellingham.
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