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High winds cause power outages, mudslides

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on March 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm with No Comments »
March 10, 2011 4:01 pm

Heavy rain and winds today have caused multiple mudslides, power outages and toppled trees in the Puget Sound region.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind advisory until 8 p.m.

Roughly 300 people in the Puyallup area are still without electricity while Puget Sound Energy crews work to restore power. A tree fell on a power line, causing an early morning outage that plunged 1,800 customers in Puyallup into darkness. Most regained power by 6:30 a.m.

Puget Sound Energy also reported 1,500 customers in Federal Way lost power for about two hours this morning due to equipment failure.

Several homes in Gig Harbor were temporarily without power this afternoon, according to Peninsula Light.

Pioneer Valley Elementary in Spanaway and about 3,800 Tacoma Power customers in the Frederickson area lost electricity about 1 p.m. when a branch fell on a line.

A second outage about 2:30 p.m. affected 1,600 people from South 7th Street to South 32nd Street and Mason to Orchard streets.

Tacoma Power spokeswoman Chris Gleason said eight crews are standing by to respond to outages.

Minor mudslides have been reported throughout Pierce County and crews in Edgewood are working to reopen roads after a 3 a.m. mudslide closed East Jovita Boulevard from the corner of 114th Avenue East to West Valley Highway.

A man and woman in a green minivan tried to drive over the slide and got stuck. They were not injured.

Crews hope to reopen the lanes by 5 p.m.

A small mudslide occurred in the northbound lane of state Route 7 and 288th Street in Graham earlier today but state Department of Transportation crews have since reopened the road.

Gusts of 47 mph have been recorded in Pierce County today. Meteorologists say wind gusts could reach 60 mph throughout Western Washington.

Friday is forecast to be partly sunny with a high near 51. Rain returns this weekend.

In the last 24 hours, Tacoma has seen about an inch of rain.

“One of our concerns is that with a really wet ground, trees could topple over a bit easier than they usually would,” said NWS meteorologist Carl Cerniglia.

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