Windstorm downs trees, knocks out power for Issaquah residents

December 21, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Strong winds downed trees and prompted road closures near Issaquah as a late-fall windstorm left thousands of residents across in the region in the dark early Dec. 18.

Puget Sound Energy said the storm knocked out power for more than 300 Issaquah customers as the storm swept through the region in the predawn hours. Crews completed restoring power to Issaquah customers just after 2 p.m. the same day.

The storm also toppled trees and forced transportation officials to close roads in the Issaquah area overnight.

The state Department of Transportation closed state Route 18 from Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast to Interstate 90 at about 1 a.m. Dec. 18. The section reopened just before 8 a.m. the same day.

Crews also closed a section of the eastbound interstate due to toppled trees on the roadway.

National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle said residents experienced east winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 65 mph. Forecasters lifted the high wind warning for the Puget Sound lowlands just before 10 a.m. Dec. 18.

The strong winds resulted as the storm deepened offshore and a front barreled north across the region. Though forecasters said breezy conditions and occasional gusts continued throughout the afternoon Dec. 18, the potential for damaging winds lessened early.

Autumn Monahan, the city spokeswoman and the official responsible for updating information during a natural disaster or other emergency, said the storm served as a reminder for residents to prepare for harsh winter conditions.

Issaquah and the Puget Sound region also experienced a damaging windstorm Nov. 15.

Issaquah residents spent the early part of last week cleaning up from a deluge and Issaquah Creek flooding. Then, strong thunderstorms rolled through the region late Dec. 13.

The storms could prove to be a test for emergency responders. Forecasters predict a harsh winter due to a return of La Niña conditions.

The windstorm also served as a reminder of the devastating 2006 Chanukah Eve windstorm. The storm caused almost $27 million in damage in inflation-adjusted dollars and left Issaquah and other Western Washington residents without power for days.

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