KITTITAS COUNTY—A windstorm caused widespread power outages throughout the county Monday night, and a few residents in the Upper County, just east of Cle Elum, remain without power.
Trees were blown down across roads and on powerlines, though there were no reports of injuries, according to Kittitas County Undersheriff Clay Myers.
In the Lake Kachess area, one man was stuck behind a downed tree for about a half an hour, Myers said. On Bullfrog Road near Roslyn, a driver was uninjured when his vehicle struck a downed tree across the road.
Wind gusts of up to 37 mph were recorded at Bowers Field in Ellensburg and 44 mph in Easton Monday night, according to the National Weather Service.
A spokesperson from Puget Sound Energy said outage information for specific counties and cities was not yet available at press time. As of press time, 80,000 customers throughout PSE's service area in Washington were still without power. Power had been restored to 60,000 customers.
PSE had 52 four-person electric line crews working to restore power throughout the company's service area with another 25 line crews en route to affected areas.
Charles Ward, general manager of Kittitas County PUD No. 1, said the PUD didn't have largescale outages, but rather one or two homes here and there in the Upper County. A few crews were still out this morning working to restore power to a handful of residents in the Upper County.
Today's forecast calls for windy conditions with west winds between 28 and 33 mph and gusts up to 48 mph. Winds are expected to die down to 8 and 15 mph tonight, the weather service reports.
The next storm to hit Washington will likely bring heavy snow to the Olympics and Cascades through Wednesday. The snow level will drop below 2,000 feet, affecting drivers in the mountain passes. Accumulations from 6 to 20 inches are expected, the weather service reports.
More than 200,000 customers lost power throughout Washington during Monday's windstorm in which gusts hit 60 mph in places, according to the Associated Press.
Power outage safety
Emergency managers urge residents affected by power outages to exercise caution and common sense. Power outages raise safety concerns as people try to light, heat and power their homes with alternative sources, said FEMA Regional Administrator Ken Murphy in a press release.
"Emergency power needs can rank right up there with food, water, first aid kits and shelter, but we need to be careful," Murphy said.
Residents are asked to resist the temptation to call 911 for information when the power fails, the release said. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage.
- Turn off electric appliances to protect against power surges when power is restored.
- Keep your car fuel tank at least half-full (gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps).
- Candles can be dangerous fire hazards. Flashlights and electric lanterns are safer.
- Never use a portable generator in a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace or other enclosed or partially enclosed area, even with ventilation, the release said. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately. Use a home carbon monoxide alarms with battery back-up.