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Strong overnight windstorm could cause damage, power outages

Winds pick up ahead of storm warning in Whatcom County

It was a bit breezy Thursday afternoon, Oct. 6, ahead of the first major windstorm of fall 2016. The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a high-wind warning for the region.
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It was a bit breezy Thursday afternoon, Oct. 6, ahead of the first major windstorm of fall 2016. The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a high-wind warning for the region.

Western Whatcom County residents should expect the first major windstorm of the season – the National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a high-wind warning for the region.

The warning is in effect from 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, to 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7. Rain is expected with a highs in the lows 60s through Friday and overnight lows in the mid-50s.

In addition, a gale warning has been issued through 6 a.m. Friday for coastal waters of the northern Salish Sea. Expect southeast winds rising to 25 to 35 knots with seas 4 to 6 feet.

As autumn storms go, it’s relatively mild, with sustained south and southeast winds at 25 to 35 mph and gusts of 45 to 50 mph, according to a special weather statement. But since it’s the first such storm of the season, it has the potential to cause tree damage and scattered power outages.

A statement from the weather service cautions that many wind-related deaths in Western Washington occur when trees fall onto cars.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard is warning the owners of small watercraft to label and secure their vessels and devices in advance of the storm. The Coast Guard and area fire departments treat every abandoned or adrift watercraft as a rescue situation.

Just Monday, Oct. 3, North Whatcom, Lynden firefighters and Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies spent more than an hour searching the Nooksack River east of Guide Meridian when an abandoned canoe was found floating just beneath the surface. No one found. Coast Guard officials said that in 2015, hundreds of hours were spent searching for unmanned, adrift vessels in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Mariners can report a vessel that has drifted into open water by calling 206-220-7001.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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