3 dead, at least 1M without power in destructive Northwest windstorm
At least three people are dead and more than one million without power after powerful winds raked the Pacific Northwest and parts of the interior Northwest Tuesday and Tuesday night. Winds were clocked as high as 119 mph in the mountains of Washington state while urban centers were buffeted by winds strong enough to cause extensive damage to trees and buildings, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people in the Seattle and Spokane areas.
Heavy rain is also causing its share of problems, contributing to serious flooding in parts of western Washington.
Here are the latest impacts from this system.
See photos of the severe storms hitting the Northwest:
A man in his 20s was killed when a tree came down on his car near Monroe, Washington Tuesday afternoon. A spokesperson from the Snohomish County Fire District 5 told Seattle television station KOMO that the incident occurred on Ben Howard Road around 1 p.m. local time.
A woman in her 50s was killed in her car by a falling tree near the corner of 14th Ave and Division Street in Spokane, reported Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer of the Spokane Fire Department. The tree was reported to have fallen around 3:30 p.m. local time.
Another driver was killed in a fatal collision with a tree fallen onto State Route 904 near Cheney in eastern Washington, according to Washington State Patrol District 4 public information officer Jeff Sevigney.
Conditions were so bad that the Greater Spokane Department of Emergency Management issued a "shelter in place" bulletin around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, advising all residents to stay in a sheltered location. The bulletin said "extreme winds" were resulting in downed trees and flying debris in the Spokane area.
High winds caused widespread power outages. The worst of the outages were in the Spokane area, where the National Weather Service office tweeted that the power outages are among the most extensive ever seen in Spokane's history. Electric utility Avista said 70 percent of its 181,000 Spokane County customers were without power shortly after midnight early Wednesday.
On the other side of the state, Puget Sound Energy reported more than 210,000 customers were in the dark Tuesday afternoon, and some 145,000 still lacked electricity shortly before midnight. The Snohomish Public Utility District reported nearly 150,000 in the dark at one point Tuesday evening, and still had 130,000 powerless meters by 10:30 p.m. local time. Snohomish PUD said nine major transmission lines were knocked out by the winds.
Seattle City Light and Tacoma Public Utilities reported roughly 5,000 and 12,000 customers without power, respectively, at the height of the outages. Diminishing winds allowed crews to restore power to most of those urban areas by midnight.
In all, at least 522,000 customers had lost power at one time or another in Washington as of midnight Tuesday night. "Given the typical ratio of power customers to actual people, this means at least 1 million people were affected by power outages in Washington alone," said weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.
The winds damaged far more than just power lines. In the north Seattle suburb of Shoreline, a windblown tree snapped off and struck a King County Metro Bus, sending the driver to the hospital with neck and back pain.
The King County Sheriff's Office says it happened just before 10 a.m. Tuesday as officials were receiving many calls about downed trees during a heavy wind and rain storm. The tree struck the Route 331 bus near Shoreline Community College. The driver was the only person on board. She was taken to Northwest Hospital.
A building in downtown Spokane has had its roof cave in. Five people evacuated safely, according to KHQ-TV in Spokane.
Another report of a car crushed by a downed tree surfaced in Spokane. The woman who was driving emerged okay, reported local television station KREM.
Part of the roof on the SpokAnimal adoption center building in Spokane was blown off, according to storm reports relayed by the National Weather Service.
The Washington Department of Transportation shut down a 17-mile stretch of Interstate 90 from the Vantage Bridge to Adams Road, five miles east of George, Tuesday afternoon due to poor visibility from blowing dust.
Two semi trucks overturned on State Road 240, according to Washington State Patrol reports.
The National Weather Service reports that strong winds blew the satellite dish off the roof of the KYNR radio station in Toppenish. Wind gusts up to 46 mph were reported in the area, according to NOAA.
A 119-mph wind gust was clocked by an anemometer on White Pass in the Cascade Range Tuesday afternoon. White Pass is located about 80 miles southeast of Seattle. Several other mountain locations gusted over 110 mph Tuesday.
More than 25,000 households lost power in the Portland area Tuesday afternoon and evening due to high winds, according to Portland General Electric's website.
In Oregon, Pacific Power reported more than 4,500 customers without power at one point.
Portions of Interstate 84 east of Portland were closed as trees fell onto the road's path through the Columbia River Gorge.
Wind gusts were clocked as high as 86 mph on Mount Hebo in the mountains along Oregon's coast.Idaho
Northern Idaho bore the brunt of the storm's high winds late Tuesday. Gusts were measured as high as 101 mph on Schweitzer Mountain in Bonner County.
A 22-year-old was in critical condition after a tree fell onto his car in the Twin Lakes area, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.
Avista reported more than 35,000 customers without power in northern Idaho early Wednesday, including nearly 100 percent of Shoshone County and Benewah County customers.
Kootenai Electric listed more than 9,000 customers on its outage map early Wednesday.
More than 73,000 customers were without power in British Columbia Tuesday night, including more than 60,000 in the Vancouver area, according to utility provider BC Hydro.
The Sooke School District, which serves approximately 9,200 students on southern Vancouver Island, reported numerous schools without power and asked parents to pick up their children early from school.
The National Weather Service reported two overturned vehicles due to non-thunderstorm winds. A cargo van was blown over on U.S. Route 2 in Glacier County, as well as a camper trailer on Interstate 15 in Pondera County.
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