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Published: Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 7:04 p.m.

Blustery weather expected to return in time for Thanksgiving

Wind gusts could create power outages on Thanksgiving and mountain passes may be treacherous.

Wind whipped, the sky sobbed and rivers rose across Western Washington on Tuesday, and more wild and wet weather is on tap through Thanksgiving.
For all the sogginess and bluster, Snohomish County fared better than most other areas.
Gusts reached 45 mph in Everett on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. At its peak Tuesday morning, roughly 7,000 homes in Snohomish County had lost electricity as tree limbs downed power lines. In neighboring counties to the north, gusts of 74 mph were recorded in Ferndale and 60 mph in Bellingham.
The wind is expected to take a rest Wednesday and pick up again on Thursday. Thanksgiving is forecast to be breezy with gusts of 50 mph possible in Everett.
That could mean more power outages and, for some, delayed turkey dinners.
"We will be ready with crews," Snohomish Public Utility District spokesman Neil Neroutsos said.
Areas that should brace for stronger winds include Whidbey and Camano islands as well as Skagit and Whatcom counties, weather service meteorologist Johnny Burg said.
The frontal system that moved into Western Washington late Monday dumped up to 6 inches of rain on the Olympic Peninsula by Tuesday afternoon. Amounts ranging from 2 to 4 inches were common in other parts of Western Washington. Darrington absorbed 2.3 inches, Monroe 1.24 and Everett 1.1 during that span.
A second system is forecast to bring another 2 to 5 inches over the region through Wednesday. Even so, "the rain is not going to be too much of an issue in the lowlands," Burg said.
Drivers trying to cross Cascade Range passes could be in for a challenge, Burg said.
They certainly were on Tuesday at Snoqualmie Pass where they faced long delays caused by accidents and avalanche control work.
Burg said drivers should expect the worst.
"Check the pass conditions before you go and be prepared if you go up," he said. "Make sure you have chains and a working cellphone in case you get stuck."
Flood warnings were issued for several rivers in Southwest Washington and near the coast through Wednesday night.
In Snohomish County, minor flooding is possible along the Stillaguamish and Snoqualmie rivers, according to weather service predictions.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » WeatherWindstormRainThanksgiving

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