Monday night’s windstorm is expected to give way to mountain snow today, and weather forecasters predict colder temperatures and a chance of snow showers in the Western Washington lowlands by the weekend. The windstorm caught many by surprise, blowing through the region after darkness fell. Gusts as high as 50 mph blew down trees and branches in some areas, tore boathouses loose at local marinas and knocked out power to thousands of homes and business across South King, Pierce and Thurston counties.
Monday night’s windstorm is expected to give way to mountain snow today, and weather forecasters predict colder temperatures and a chance of snow showers in the Western Washington lowlands by the weekend.
Accumulations, if any, are expected to be light at the lower elevations, but the National Weather Service office in Seattle advised people to take precautions.
“Now would be a good time to think about how you could prepare for the first possibility of winter weather conditions in the lowlands,” according to a “special weather statement” issued Tuesday. “Are your tires ready for snow-covered roads? Are you outdoor pipes and faucets winterized?”
Monday’s windstorm caught many by surprise, blowing through the region after darkness fell.
Weather Service forecaster Johnny Berg said a strong cold front moved onshore north of Seattle, bringing stiff winds and rain but nothing atypical.
“It was a typical storm that we get every winter,” Berg said.
Still, the storm packed a wallop.
Gusts as high as 50 mph blew down trees and branches in some areas, tore boathouses loose at local marinas and knocked out power to thousands of homes and business across South King, Pierce and Thurston counties.
There was a report of a tree crashing through the living room of an Anderson Island family.
A patrol boat owned by the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department sustained damage after the boathouse it’s stored in collapsed. The 32-foot boat is inoperable pending repairs, the county reported.
Patrick Malone spent Tuesday morning trying to free his 43-foot cabin cruiser, which was trapped after a boathouse at Narrows Marina collapsed in the winds.
“The boat’s still floating good, but it’s scraped up,” Malone said.
The wind knocked over dozens of empty containers at the Port of Tacoma. Port spokeswoman Tara Mattina said wind-toppled containers are not unusual since they’re stacked three high.
“It can ding them up. (Workers will) be assessing them for any damage,” she said.
The storm didn’t affect much at the port, Mattina said. It had no power issues that she was aware of.
“We actually had a ship in, last night, unloading in the storm,” she said. The cranes that lift things off the ships have an alarm that goes off when gusts reach 45 mph. The gusts were about 40 mph, so workers kept at it.
Schools were either closed or delayed across the region. The Clover Park School District cancelled classes as did the North Thurston School District.
Many subscribers to the The News Tribune and The Olympian newspapers were without their papers Tuesday morning after the TNT lost power shortly before 9 p.m. Monday.
Subscribers who missed their papers can expect both their Tuesday editions and Wednesday editions on Wednesday.
No injuries were reported.
Many folks without power sought refuge at local restaurants or stores Tuesday morning.
Susan Yockman of Burs Restaurant in Lakewood said the eatery was doing twice its normal Tuesday morning business as storm refugees sought breakfast and coffee.
“Bacon and eggs are popular,” Yockman said.
People with business in Eastern Washington should prepare for winter driving conditions in the Cascades.
The Weather Service was calling for accumulations of up to 20 inches of snow in the mountains tonight and early Wednesday morning.
The lowlands around Tacoma can expect rain and breezy conditions until Saturday, when temperatures are expected to drop into the 30s and bring a chance of snow.
Staff writer Kathleen Cooper contributed to this report.