After heavy rain, high winds hit Western Washington

EVERETT — Power outages may have greeted residents in Snohomish County and other areas around Western Washington this morning after a powerful windstorm was predicted to roll in Sunday evening.

Kirby Cook, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Seattle, said a high wind warning has been issued for much of Western Washington. In addition, storm warnings have been forecast for Puget Sound and all inland marine waters. Gusts of up to 60 mph are expected in Everett and 70 mph on Whidbey Island.

It’s an unseasonable storm, meaning that it’s early in the year to have such high winds. It has the potential to be one of the worst September storms on record.

“It’s going to be a strong storm, peaking from about 8 p.m. to midnight,” Cook said Sunday afternoon. “It’s a very strong system, considering that we normally have mild weather this time of year.”

One of the problems, Cook said, is that most deciduous trees still have most of their leaves. The leaves provide more resistance to the wind, which could cause damage to many trees, especially those with weak limbs.

Added to that is the rain Saturday that set records up and down the I-5 corridor in Western Washington.

“The soil is saturated and this sets the stage for trees to blow over, too,” Cook said. “The good news is that the storm is expected to head north and east pretty quickly after midnight and the winds should dissipate. Even so, some people likely will wake up to power outages and downed trees.”

Snow is expected in the Cascade Range, which also could cause problems on some mountain passes, Cook said.

Rain is expected to continue today, but in lesser amounts than what fell over the weekend.

Saturday’s rain set records across Western Washington, from Olympia to Bellingham.

Record rainfall of 1.71 inches fell was recorded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Saturday. The weather service says that is more than double the old record of 0.83 of an inch set in 1948.

A record rainfall of 2.93 inches was set in Olympia, breaking the old record of 0.82 set in 1971.

A record was also set at the Hoquiam airport, where 1.78 inches fell on Saturday. The old record of just over an inch was set in 1962. Another record was set at the Quillayute airport, with 1.93 inches of rain. That broke the previous record of 1.32 set in 1971.

If the power goes out

The Snohomish County Public Utility District offers tips for dealing with a power outage at tinyurl.com/PUDoutagetips.

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