CAMANO ISLAND — People on Camano Island were in the dark Wednesday morning after a storm toppled a tree into the main transmission line, cutting power to over 9,000 Snohomish County PUD customers there.
Storm damage also canceled classes at several north Snohomish County school districts and prompted flood warnings for the Skykomish, Snohomish and Stillaguamish rivers, with minor to moderate flooding expected, according to the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management.
Camano Island’s power outages were a fraction of the 9 a.m. peak of about 95,000 customers, Snohomish County PUD spokesman Aaron Swaney said.
A powerful storm blew through Western Washington overnight, but the forecast didn’t predict winds as strong as the ones that gusted through, reaching 48 mph at the Arlington Airport.
“From the weather reports, the wind wasn’t supposed to be that bad,” Swaney said. “We were caught off guard.”
Crews met around midnight and began responding to outages, including a wire across I-5 late Tuesday night.
Since 3 a.m. crews mostly have assessed the outages to craft a response plan. As of noon, the PUD had 35 crews out, including 15 line crews of four people and 16 service crew pairs who act as the first response. The rest are tree crews responsible for clearing felled foliage from lines, poles and roads.
With the PUD still evaluating the widespread damage, the agency did not have any estimated times for restoration.
By 11:20 a.m., just over 84,000 customers had reported outages.
Wind gusts were so strong that they may have knocked a truck onto the railing of the Highway 20 Deception Pass bridge, which was closed until the weather abated and daylight came, when a tow truck could remove the vehicle, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. The driver was unharmed and escaped, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Peak wind gusts overnight were between 40 mph in Everett and reached 48 mph at the Arlington Airport, according to National Weather Service data.
In the early morning, outage clusters were centered in the Arlington, Lake Stevens, Marysville and Stanwood areas. Customers can report fallen power lines and outages to 425-783-1001, 1-877-783-1001 or online at https://bit.ly/3qgj919. People who see downed power lines should stay at least 30 feet away and not move or drive over them, according to the utility district.
“Act as if it’s live, that’s always our advice,” Swaney said.
Remember to stay away from any fallen power lines or poles. Never attempt to remove tree limbs from lines. If you see a downed line or pole, report it to 425-783-1001. Thanks and stay safe!— Snohomish County PUD (@SnoPUD) January 13, 2021
The Lake Stevens Police Department reported that the Frontier Village area did not have power, including at traffic lights. When traffic signals are out, drivers should treat them like four-way stops.
Marysville’s 88th Street NE and 55th Avenue NE intersection was closed because of downed trees and power lines. The Marysville School District suspended in-person classes and delayed the start time of remote classes two hours.
In-person classes at Kent Prairie Elementary in the Arlington School District were canceled and moved to remote learning. The Lakewood School District canceled all lessons.
Lake Stevens School District canceled preschool and suspended all of its classes.
Fallen trees across Highway 9 blocked and disrupted traffic earlier in the morning at several locations.