Winter storm triggers power outages, snow in Pacific Northwest

NEW DELHI: Winter weather in the Pacific Northwest brought strong winds and snow, causing power outages in certain areas in the US and blanketing the Cascade Range with fresh snow. On Saturday morning, thousands of households in the greater Seattle area were without power following a night of rain and gusty winds, reported the Seattle Times.

According to the utility’s outage map, as of late morning, Seattle City Light reported 17 outages impacting over 1,700 customers, with approximately two-thirds of them located in South Seattle.

The utility is currently investigating the cause of these outages.

“Smaller outages, some caused by fallen trees, were affecting other neighbourhoods throughout Seattle”, according to the Seattle Times.

Communities throughout the region experienced widespread impacts. By around 11:30 am, Puget Sound Energy documented 79 outages affecting over 4,700 customers. These outages extended from Kitsap County to as far south as the state capital, Olympia, according to reports.

In Oregon, over 2,000 customers in the Portland area also faced power losses, as indicated by outage maps from Portland General Electric and Pacific Power.

According to the National Weather Service’s office in Seattle, the power cuts came as “high winds swept across the region, reaching 52 mph (84 kph) at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport”.

The National Weather Service (NWS) indicated that the winds in the Seattle area were anticipated to diminish by the afternoon.

Due to the high winds, Olympic National Park, situated on the Olympia Peninsula west of Seattle, took precautionary measures by closing several coastal campgrounds. The park issued a warning about the potential for wind storms to generate life-threatening waves along the coast and lead to fallen trees blocking roads.

The storms also delivered snow to the Cascades. Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service as of Friday afternoon indicated that Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park had accumulated 14 inches of snow within 24 hours.

In the Oregon Cascades, the Mt. Bachelor ski resort near Bend kicked off its opening day on Saturday, having received approximately a foot of snow in the past 24 hours.

Timberline on Mount Hood reported a comparable snowfall during the same period and had initially planned to open its chair lifts. However, due to high winds, the resort had to postpone the opening until Sunday, as stated in an Instagram post. Mount Bachelor also reported experiencing elevated wind conditions.

Meanwhile, authorities in Washington and Oregon have issued cautions to drivers, advising them to exercise caution in the windy and snowy conditions. They recommend using tire chains when necessary and emphasise the importance of having supplies such as water and blankets in vehicles, particularly in anticipation of potential traffic delays.

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