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Wind and rain are not over for Bellingham, Whatcom

More strong, gusty winds are forecast through Wednesday morning, but they should pack a weaker punch than Monday’s big blow, weather officials said.

High wind, rain and heavy snow is in the forecast for Western Washington from the water to the mountains as part of a cold, wet storm front moving slowly from the south. The weather is expected to ease into showers on Thursday with a chance of rain Friday and Saturday. Rain is likely Sunday.

Temperatures will be in the 40s.

A wind advisory is in effect until 4 a.m. Wednesday for Western Washington, including Whatcom County. South wind 20 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph are forecast, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. A gale warning is in effect until 4 p.m. Wednesday for northern inland waters of the Puget Sound region. A winter storm warning was issued for the North Cascades – the warning expires at noon Wednesday.

Winds Wednesday are not expected to be as powerful as those that pummeled the region in two waves Monday morning and afternoon. Whatcom County saw some of the strongest lowland winds, but escaped with mostly minor damage and scattered power outages affecting fewer than 3,000 Puget Sound Energy customers.

“We got by pretty much scot-free, even though we did get the wind,” said John Gargett, deputy director of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management.

He said a wind-driven storm surge added a little more than a foot to a Monday afternoon high tide of 9 feet, but it caused no reported damage on the coast.

Highest winds were seen on western-facing coastal areas. A weather station in Ferndale measured a 61 mph gust Monday afternoon; one of 57 mph was measured in Bellingham; and one of 55 mph was recorded at Cherry Point, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service, which collects data from several unofficial sites around Whatcom County.

A gust of 74 mph was recorded at Mount Baker.

Official NOAA statistics are measured at Bellingham International Airport, where the highest sustained winds were 38 mph at 4:53 p.m. Monday, with gusts of 52 mph.

Worst-hit areas were King, Kitsap and Island counties, a woman was killed by a falling tree and more than 70,000 homes and businesses were without power Monday night.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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