Snohomish PUD lineworkers make repairs to a downed power line during storm restoration in the Sky Valley last winter. (Snohomish County PUD, file)

Snohomish PUD lineworkers make repairs to a downed power line during storm restoration in the Sky Valley last winter. (Snohomish County PUD, file)

Storm season ‘may be a little earlier this year’

PUD ramps up for storm season and potential power outages. You need to get yourself ready, too.

EVERETT — Last weekend’s thunderstorm and wild lightning sent shock waves into our typically calm Septemberness.

Dogs freaked out and hid under beds. People took their phones out to snap photos.

About 450 lightning strikes were counted in Snohomish County, where it was more recreation than disruption.

Only about 300 customers lost power, said Aaron Swaney, Snohomish County PUD spokesman.

“It was scattered out all over the place,” Swaney said. “When lightning hits transformers, it can really blow them out.”

Power was restored by Sunday afternoon.

A much lighter lightning show Thursday night caused one outage that didn’t last very long, Swaney said.

Brace yourself for turbulent weather ahead.

“We typically don’t see a lot of outages unless it’s really, really windy,” Swaney said. “Storm season really begins in November, although we are having stormy weather already so it may be a little earlier this year.”

He said crews stay at the ready.

“As we see the National Weather Service starting to forecast stormy weather coming into our service area, we start to stage crews around the county so they can respond faster,” Swaney said.

Jacob DeFlitch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, said winds this weekend might have gusts in the Everett area up to 25 mph. Rain is expected, and it “might be heavy at times,” DeFlitch said.

A fireworks show like last weekend isn’t likely.

Prior to storm season, Swaney said the utility company trims trees and brush away from power lines to cut down on potential outages.

Here’s how you can weather the storm safely:

Stay at least 30 feet away from fallen power lines.

Report fallen power lines or other life-threatening situations to 911.

Never use a combustible heating source such as a gas grill or portable generator indoors.

Use extreme caution with candles or lamps inside, and keep them away from furniture, drapes and other flammable materials.

Create an emergency preparedness kit with flashlights, batteries, matches, drinking water, food bars, blankets, a battery-powered radio and first aid kit.

People with special medical needs and dependent on power should have a generator or prearrange to go to family, friends or another safe place with power.

During a power outage, dress warmly and choose a small room with few windows as your emergency living quarters.

Call 425-783-1001 or visit the online Outage Map. The map tracks outages with color-coded boxes to indicate outage areas and details each outage’s cause, number of customers affected and estimated time of restoration.

Keep your phone charged. If nothing else, it’s a way to capture those special storm moments to share on social media.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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