Winter-like storm may grow worse in the coming hours

A winter-like storm that knocked out power this morning for thousands in Snohomish County may increase its pummeling of the area in the coming hours.

Utility crews quickly restored power for 3,071 customers after a string of outages hit the Snohomish and Lake Goodwin areas around 9 a.m., Snohomish County PUD spokesman Mike Thorne said.

Downed tree limbs on power lines caused those outages, Thorne said. Branches are expected to pose a greater risk than usual during the storm, since they are heavy with spring buds and leaves.

Early predictions for the storm haven’t changed, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

The highest winds may hit Snohomish County in the early afternoon, with a wind advisory in effect until 6 tonight. Sustained winds of 20 to 35 mph are expected, with gusts reaching 55 mph.

The central Cascades may get up to three feet of snow during the storm, with the weather already complicating travel.

Eastbound traffic on I-90 was stopped around 10 a.m. by spun-out vehicles near the summit.

Snow is also on the ground on U.S. 2. Traction tires are required by the state Department of Transportation at both passes, with chains necessary on vehicles 10,000 pounds or heavier. Oversize vehicles are prohibited.

Wind gusts are expected to hit 40 mph in the mountains, with exposed ridges seeing gusts up to 80 mph.

“I would say that travel is not recommended over the passes at all today,” Burg said.

No power?

Here are some tips in case the power goes out during the windstorm forecast for today:

  • Stay away from any fallen power lines. Assume all power lines are live and can kill if touched.

    Turn off lights and appliances. Unplug all electronics.

    If using a generator, always follow instructions carefully.

    Keep flashlights and fresh batteries handy. If using candles or oil lamps, be extremely careful.

    Preserve food by limiting the number of times the refrigerator or freezer is opened.

    Stay warm. Wear extra layers and huddle in one room.

    Conserve water.

    Call the PUD to report outages at 425-783-1000.

    Source: Snohomish County Public Utilities District

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