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Gusty winds prompt wind advisory until 6 p.m.

A Bellingham Parks Department worker pulls downed tree branches to a chipper in the old area of Bayview Cemetery, March 12, 2014. The National Weather Service in Seattle issued to a wind advisory Tuesday.
A Bellingham Parks Department worker pulls downed tree branches to a chipper in the old area of Bayview Cemetery, March 12, 2014. The National Weather Service in Seattle issued to a wind advisory Tuesday. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

A stiff breeze picked up before dawn Tuesday, prompting the National Weather Service in Seattle to issue a wind advisory lasting until 6 p.m.

A statement was issued at 5:09 a.m. for the Puget Sound region, including western Whatcom County, to expect winds at 20 to 35 mph with localized gusts at 45-50 mph. A gale warning was issued for coastal waters.

“Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles. Use extra caution,” the weather service said. Power outages were possible.

At 6:53 a.m. Tuesday, winds were blowing from the south-southwest at a steady 16 mph, with gusts to 26 mph, according to observations at Bellingham International Airport.

It was 46 degrees, which felt downright balmy after a week in which daytime temperatures hovered below freezing. Showers are likely throughout Tuesday.

No electrical outages had been reported in Whatcom County by 7:30 a.m., according to Puget Sound Energy’s online outage map. Several small outages were reported in Skagit and Island counties, along with a handful of small outages in the Seattle area. Outages affecting nearly 2,000 customers were reported in Yelm, east of Olympia.

No coastal flood advisory was issued, despite the windy conditions and relatively high late fall tides. Morning high tides for the northern Salish Sea are 9.2 feet at 10:30 for Bellingham Bay; 9.6 feet at 10:28 a.m. for Gooseberry Point; 8.9 feet at 10:41 a.m. for Cherry Point; and 10 feet at 10:50 a.m. for Drayton Harbor.

This story will be updated.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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