The spring storm blew through Friday afternoon, bringing strong gusts in parts of the Puget Sound and even stronger winds on the coast.
A wind advisory for the Puget Sound region has been extended until 1 a.m. Saturday, with a wind warning on the Washington coast extended until midnight, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle.
“Most of the area saw some pretty good winds today … It’s kind of peaking right now,” meteorologist Johnny Burg said around 5 p.m. Friday. “It can go down a bit, then work back up. It’s going to go up and down through this evening and into tonight.”
The powerful spring storm hit around noon with sustained winds at Seattle Tacoma International Airport measured at 38 mph, with a peak gust of 47 mph, Burg said. Around the same time, Tacoma was experiencing 38 mph sustained winds and a peak gust of 53 mph, he said.
Then right before 3 p.m., Paine Field in Everett saw sustained winds of 41 mph and a peak gust of 50 mph, Burg said.
On the coast, gusts as high as 76 mph were recorded shortly after noon.
The Weather Service’s wind advisory means the areas including Seattle, Everett, Tacoma, Bremerton and Shelton can still see winds of 20 to 35 mph, with gusts up to 55 mph.
The Weather Service issued a high-wind warning — for winds of 25 to 40 mph, with gusts up to 60 mph — for the coast and areas north of Everett, including Bellingham, Oak Harbor, Friday Harbor and Anacortes. The warning for the northern interior will remain in effect until 10 p.m. Friday.
Rain is on its way as well, and thunderstorms are possible, but “It’s going to be hit-or-miss showers — the main event for us now is going to be the wind,” said meteorologist Dustin Guy.
Guy said the winds will whip up high surf on the coast, with waves building up to 20 feet. “Don’t turn your back on the ocean,” he said.
Weather-Service officials were confident in the forecast of Friday’s storm, which is following a different track than a widely anticipated October storm that developed from the remnants of a Pacific Ocean typhoon. The October storm didn’t follow the path that computer models predicted and never brought the damaging winds that forecasters had anticipated, Guy said.
In Western Oregon, winds cut off power to homes up and down the Interstate 5 corridor and killed a man in Tigard who was struck by a falling tree limb. A small plane went down in a field north of the Eugene Airport, killing all four people aboard, in what the sheriff described as gusting winds. A boat overturned on the blustery Columbia River east of Portland, sending four fishermen to hospitals.
An estimated 168,000 homes and businesses in the Portland metro area were without power at midmorning Friday during the peak of the gusts there. Electricity remained out in many areas of Portland, as winds tossed debris across downtown streets and forced construction workers to hold on to their hard hats. Many trees were knocked down.
On his weather blog, University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor Cliff Mass called Friday’s storm “probably the most powerful April storm to approach the Northwest coast during the past half century.”
Washington won’t get much of a break until Sunday, when sunshine and milder weather will make a brief appearance in the afternoon. Rain is expected to return early next week.
Some of the storm related tweets from Puget Sound area agencies and others on Friday:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.