ADVISORY: Latest Windstorm May Bring Gusts Up To 50mph

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Apparently two – count ’em – two major storms are moving into the Northwest overnight and tomorrow, and here’s the latest “Wind Advisory” from the National Weather Service, which is predicting gusts up to 50mph:

A Wind Advisory remains in effect until 7 am PST Wednesday.

A strong Pacific frontal system will move onto the Washington coast late this evening and across the interior after midnight. South winds will increase to 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph this evening… .then shift to southwest and slowly decrease by Wednesday morning. Expect the strongest winds over the east Strait to occur behind the front after midnight… where southwesterly winds of 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 50 mph are expected.

Precautionary/preparedness actions…

A Wind Advisory is issued when sustained winds of 30 to 39 mph or gusts of 45 to 57 mph are likely. Winds this strong can snap small tree branches… topple small or shallow rooted trees… and cause local power outages.

And what goes better with a major “Wind Advisory” than a warning from Seattle City Light with the UPPERCASE words: “CITY LIGHT RECOMMENDS CUSTOMERS GET READY” in the title? Notice how they didn’t toss this out Monday morning before we received those surprising, sudden 40+mph gusts:

National Weather Service forecasting gale force winds

SEATTLE – Seattle City Light is preparing its crews for a series of winter wind storms heading our way today through Friday. The storms are expected to bring rain and strong winds to the Puget Sound area through the weekend.

“Living in the Pacific Northwest means you need to be ready for winter storms,” City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “Our crews are ready so that if this storm causes any outages, we can restore power as quickly as possible. We have been busy throughout the year clearing tree branches from more than 300 line miles of power lines. Even so, we want our customers to be ready in the event an outage.”

The National Weather Service issued a High Wind Advisory today with a forecast for wind gusts up to 35 mph this evening. A storm with more intense winds is predicted to hit our area on New Years day.

City Light has crews ready to respond and the supplies that may be needed should there be a significant wind event. “We’ve asked the Call Center to remain open tonight,” says Chris Heimgartner, Energy Delivery and Customer Care Officer for City Light. “We are prepared for the possibility of outages occurring throughout our service territory and we can have back-up help available to us quickly if there is significant wind damage. Our main concern is the saturated ground from the snow and rain. Similar to 2006, this can bring down whole trees onto power lines.” City Light has written agreements with other utilities in the region and throughout the West to send back-up crews should the outages and damage be widespread.

If a large-scale storm event occurs, residents should be ready with emergency supplies for at least three days. Items to include are a hand-crank or battery-operated flashlight and radio, fresh batteries, a survival blanket, a first aid kit, pocket tissues and hand sanitizer wipes.

City Light reminds customers to be safe. Downed lines can be dangerous. Also, City Light urges customers to be prepared for any possible outages. Here’s what customers can do if they experience a power outage:

  • Do not get within 10’ of any downed wire. Wires should always be assumed to be “live” and dangerous. If someone seeks a downed wire, they should call (206) 706-0051;
  • Do not use a barbecue grill or generator inside the house or in a garage that is attached to the house. Do not use a grill or generator near a home air intake vent or near windows;
  • Do not use fossil fuel burning auxiliary heating sources;
  • Have an emergency power outage kit available and well-stocked. There should be sufficient supplies to last three days for every family member and family pets. Make sure all batteries are fresh. To find out what to put into a kit, go to;
  • Know how to manually override electric garage doors, security doors and gates;
  • Have a land line phone or fully charged cell phone available – cordless phones won’t work when the power is out;
  • Unplug electrical appliances if the power goes out so that when the power comes back on, there won’t be a surge that could damage sensitive electronic equipment;
  • Use battery-powered flashlights – not candles or oil lamps;
  • Close doors, windows, curtains, and unused fireplace dampers to retain heat if there is an outage;

So…are you ready this time?

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