Power poles snapped, trees toppled, fences fell and many more things went airborne as much of the Sequim area went dark due to high winds and heavy rains on Friday, Nov. 4.
Winds peaked at 68 miles per hour, according to the New Dungeness Lighthouse’s weather station at 10:05 p.m. Nov. 4.
Steve Reedy, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle, reported that a cold front brought up to 45 mph wind gusts to the area.
The Seattle Times reported that around 300,000 electricity customers in Western Washington lost power in the storm.
More than 8,500 households and businesses lost electricity around 10 p.m. Friday in Clallam County, according to Nicole Hartman, Clallam Public Utility District spokesperson.
Crews were working into Monday, Nov. 7, to restore power. The sustained outages were some of the longest for Sequim in more than a decade, according to previous Gazette outage reports.
The last sizable outage was last December when snow and cold weather led to more than 13,000 PUD customers to be without electricity on Dec. 26, 2021, largely in Sequim and Port Angeles. Most homes were restored within a few hours.
WSDOT Tacoma Twitter reported on Nov. 4-5 that portions of U.S. Highway 101 were closed temporarily going westbound due to fallen trees near Shore Road, and outside Blyn and Discovery Bay. Washington State Patrol reports the Shore Road/Barr Road area closure also had fallen power lines.
The wind’s damage wasn’t focused on one area, Hartman said, but rather spread across lines in the Sequim and Port Angeles areas with the hardest hit along Taylor Cutoff Road with four power poles needing restored.
She told the Peninsula Daily News it was “odd,” because the West End usually is hit hardest from wind but only had a few outages by early Saturday morning.
How many poles were broken/ damaged countywide is still being tallied, Hartman said, as they may be able to file for federal assistance depending on the level of damage.
None of the damaged lines were owned by Bonneville Power Administration because of the agency’s preventative work done around its power lines last year, she said.
Clallam PUD employs two vegetation management crews for the county and they work on a “constant maintenance cycle,” Hartman said.
For this wind event it was “all hands on deck,” she said, as more than 60 Clallam PUD employees including linemen, tree trimmers, dispatchers, and many other supporting employees worked together to restore power.
With outages, Hartman said crews typically look to restore power to the greatest number of houses first but they look for safety issues first.
Early Nov. 6, Clallam PUD general manager Sean Worthington posted on the agency’s website that “some personnel have been working 30+ hours to exhaustion to bring service back as quickly as possible.”
Less than 100 homes were without power by Monday afternoon, according to the PUD’s website. Worthington wrote he anticipated smaller outages being restored fully on Nov. 7.
“This storm brought extensive damage to our system and they are working as fast as they possibly can,” Worthington wrote.
“Thank you for your patience, understanding and support of our amazing crews as they continue to work in inclement weather to serve you, our customers.”
Fire chief Ben Andrews with Clallam County Fire District 3 reported that firefighter units responded to 11 calls from 9 p.m. to midnight on Nov. 4, mostly for trees falling into power lines.
“We typically blocked the road to keep people away from the lines as they were typically still energized,” he said.
All units were committed at one point as more calls came in, he said, so they shifted so each station stayed in its general area for non-life threatening calls.
“The Blyn engine did respond to Agnew for a propane leak because the Carlsborg and R-corner engines were committed,” he said.
Fire district units did respond to one vehicle wreck when a man was injured, Andrews said.
Across the City of Sequim trees fell from high winds, including onto and near the Bell Creek bridge in Carrie Blake Community Park, in Pioneer Memorial Park, and into streets.
Sequim public works director Sarah VanAusdle said city crews removed trees from streets and travel paths while keeping generators running at lift stations and booster stations.
“The (Water Reclamation Facility) was without power from about 9 p.m. Friday evening until about 2 p.m. Sunday; again, running on generators with oversight from our crews,” she said.
About 30 city street trees, including many on South Sequim Avenue and Hendrickson Road, were lost, VanAusdle said.
City crews will continue to remove debris this week, she said.
Volunteers maintained regular hours at the Sequim Food Bank on Saturday despite the facility’s produce stand blowing over in the night.
Board member Stephen Rosales said it was too heavy for people to lift and they’d need to likely use a crane to lift it back up and repair it later.
Resources on how to report, monitor and prepare for outages can be found at clallampud.net/outages.