Very stormy weather is on its way to Western Washington. Forecasters have issued a high wind warning starting Thursday evening at 6 p.m., through Friday morning at 7. That means there could be gusts of up to 55 miles per hour and there will be several inches of rain, especially in the mountains.
KNKX weather expert Cliff Mass says get ready for lots of power outages.
“This is going to be a pretty good windstorm and considering it’s happening when the leaves are still on the trees and branches haven’t been tested,” said Mass. “I expect we’re going to have a lot of branches falling a lot of power outages.”
But he says what people are really concerned about is Saturday. A storm is approaching that was a typhoon – Songda – and is deepening to a pressure level that we have not seen in years.
It’s comparable to the historic Columbus Day Storm of 1962, which killed at least 46 people. Mass says the American and European forecast models have different trajectories for its path right now. He says if the European model is correct, the storm could cross through Seattle and the Puget Sound area, with the strongest winds hitting from Olympia to Portland.
“So there’s uncertainty here. But one thing is clear, we’re dealing with a very, very powerful storm that’s going to hit somewhere around here and we’re going to have to figure that out as we get closer,” said Mass.
He says if the American forecast models are right, the low center of the storm would hit the middle of Vancouver Island, with hurricane gusts along the coast, very strong winds in Northwest Washington and gusts of only 30-50 miles per hour in the Puget Sound area.
At this point, only time will tell who is right. Authorities say now is a good time to prepare emergency kits and clear storm drains. Here's a quick list of things you should do to stay safe during the storms:
Rake Your Drain
Crews are out clearing leaves from storm drains along city streets, but they can’t get to all of them. Take a moment and look at the drains near your home. Clearing leaves now can prevent flooded streets later.
Calling For Help
In an emergency, call 911.
But emergency officials ask the public NOT to tie up 911 with complaints about power outages, and other non-life-threatening emergencies. For power outages, contact your local utility:
Seattle City Light: (206) 684-3000 or (206) 684-7400
Puget Sound Energy: 888-225-5773
Tacoma Public Utilities: (253) 502-8602
Snohomish Co. PUD: (425) 783-1001
Grays Harbor Co. PUD: (888) 541-5923
And remember: Never touch a downed power line.
On The Coast
Emergency officials in Grays Harbor County, along the coast, are warning people to expect particularly severe weather there. Along beaches, expect long wave run-up and water possibly overtopping piers. That’s in addition to the heavy rain and wind the entire region can expect.
The Coast Guard warns mariners to be aware of the weather before heading out on the water. Swells of up to 30 feet are possible in this storm system. Secure vessels that are tied up, too. The Coast Guard says they often get calls of adrift, unmanned vessels, which diverts resources away from other emergencies.
More advice is available at takewinterbystorm.org.