Updated at 4:30 p.m. on October 14
Batten down the hatches and hunker down is the message that weather forecasters are giving to PNW residents as two major storms impact Western Washington.
The first hit today, with the second expected to arrive in the late afternoon on Saturday. Depending on the trajectory, Saturday’s storm has the potential to bring strong winds and rain to Puget Sound.
“The bottom line is that we have a dangerous storm, comparable to the 2006 Chanukah Eve storm or the 1993 Inauguration Day Storm, one that is following nearly a perfect track to produce strong winds over the Puget Sound region,” according to famed UW meteorologist Cliff Mass. Previously, the storm was compared to the Columbus Day Storm of 1962.
Heavy winds and about 2 to 4 inches of rain impacted the Olympic Mountains yesterday and into this morning. Early Friday morning, a tornado struck Manzanita, a beach town on the Oregon coast.
Mass said winds could reach up to 40 mph on land and up to 50 mph near water over Puget Sound through Friday.
Already, 3,000 people were reported without power in Whatcom County as of 1 p.m. on Friday, October 14, according to John Gargett, deputy director of the Whatcom County sheriff’s division of emergency management.
“Localized power outages will continue to be experienced,” he said.
On Saturday, it gets worse. The storm is expected to hit south of Vancouver Island at 8 p.m. and will carry with it strong winds. Mass forecasts that the Puget Sound region will see winds of up to 60 mph, leaving several hundred thousand in Western Washington without power.
“The key safety issue is to keep away from trees during the 4-6 hours of greatest threat,” he said.
Puget Sound Energy has advised customers to prepare emergency supplies, such as extra batteries, flashlights, food and a battery-powered radio; to charge phones and mobile devices now; and download its mobile outage app. PSE also reminded people not to touch downed power lines. Residents should also expect downed trees and landslide activity in coastal areas.
The Blaine School District has postponed the October 15 homecoming dance due to the forecast storm. Friday’s home football game remained on schedule. However, the homecoming dance will likely be rescheduled for next Saturday, October 22.
Gargett advises the public to prepare and remain cautious when outside for fallen trees, power lines or debris.
“It’s a big storm, but taking precautions will keep you from trouble,” Gargett said.
For emergencies, Blaine offers two after-hours service lines. Call (360) 815-0494 for city-related emergencies or (360) 815-0503 for electrical issues.
Do you have photos of the big storm? Email them in at firstname.lastname@example.org.