Utility officials say some customers won’t have electricity until Tuesday after heavy branches and big winds left two dead and nearly half a million people without power Saturday.
On Saturday night, Emma Gardner, 79, and her 83-year-old husband, Gary, slept in a cold room of their Mountlake Terrace home with a tree on their roof, a downed electrical line in their rhodies and little hope that power would be restored soon.
“We’re sleeping in the rec room in the furthest corner from any big tree,” Emma Gardner said. “I’m sleeping on the Daveno and my husband is sleeping in a chair.”
But because the damage is isolated to their house, they’re low on the priority list of electrical crews focusing on repairs after Saturday’s wind storm. Some customers have been told it may be Tuesday before they get power back.
“We have people up the street who have power, and we don’t have power because it was pulled away from our house, so that puts us at the bottom of the list. I don’t understand it, ” Gardner said. “That Daveno, of course, is killing me with my rheumatoid.”
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The Gardners are among more than 100,000 residents who still lacked power Sunday because of a windstorm Saturday that killed two people and toppled trees, snapped utility poles and downed electrical lines throughout the region.
Authorities Sunday identified the two people killed during Saturday’s windstorm.
Samara Iereneo, 10, of Burien, was killed while playing at a friend’s home when she was hit by a falling branch, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office and law-enforcement authorities.
A 36-year-old Gig Harbor man who was killed Saturday morning when a tree fell on his car was identified by Pierce County authorities as James Fay, an assistant general manager at Chambers Bay golf course. Fay’s 3-year-old daughter was also in the car but not hurt, officials said.
Federal Way police Cmdr. Stan McCall said Saturday that the 10-year-old Burien-area girl had been staying at a friend’s home in the 2300 block of Southwest 352nd Street. She was playing with other children in a grassy area behind the apartment building when she was hit by a tree branch.
Fay was director of sales and marketing at Chambers Bay, according to a course spokesman. Chambers Bay was the site of this year’s U.S. Open Golf Championship.
Fay, a native of Vancouver, Wash., was a 2001 graduate of the University of Puget Sound and was named director of sales and marketing at Chambers Bay in 2008, according to a company spokesman.
He was killed when a tree fell onto his Subaru station wagon while he was driving on Borgen Boulevard just before 10:45 a.m., according to Gig Harbor Police Chief Kelly Busey.
Autopsies for both victims will be performed Monday.
The storm Saturday left almost a half-million customers without power and set a rainfall record for that date at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, dumping 1.28 inches in a 24-hour period. The previous record for that day was .87 inches in 1983.
With gusts between 30 and 40 mph (and stronger north and west of Seattle), the storm would have been destructive at any time of year, but coming at the end of a dry summer when deciduous trees still have all their leaves made it worse.
“We had a lot more maples and that type of thing come down than we might otherwise,” said meteorologist Danny Mercer with the National Weather Service in Seattle. “We had gusts up toward Everett that were around 61 mph.”
Further north in Vancouver, B.C., winds reached 50 mph, and left an estimated 500,000 people without electricity.
The storm triggered wind warnings from Environment Canada, forced the temporary closure of Vancouver’s Stanley Park, and slowed ferry service between Victoria and the mainland.
Ferry service between Port Townsend and Coupeville was suspended Saturday because of the windstorm, according to Washington State Ferries.
Cable provider Comcast reported that 30,000 Western Washington customers were still without service as of about 5 p.m. Sunday, down from 152,000 on Saturday.
Densely forested communities north of Seattle were the slowest to get power back with some Puget Sound Energy customers in North King County not expected to have electricity restored until Tuesday.
Puget Sound Energy reported 34,000 customers still didn’t have service at 6 a.m. on Monday. The storm at its height knocked out 230,000 of the utility’s customers.
Seattle City Light had whittled down the outage list from about 58,000 customers Saturday — including many in Shoreline, Lake Forest Park and Magnolia — to about 3,600 by early Monday morning.
Snohomish County Public Utility District still had about 24,500 without power Monday morning, including Emma and Gary Gardner in Mountlake Terrace, after reporting as many as 175,000 customers without power on Saturday.
Crews on Sunday repaired downed transmission lines leading to three substations in the Edmonds, Woodway and Mountlake Terrace areas, spokesman Bob Bolerjack said.
Repairs that deliver the most power to the most people get priority over those that might restore electricity to one or two houses, which is typical for utilities responding to a big storm.
“Unfortunately, they’re probably not alone in that boat,” Bolerjack said about the Gardners’ situation.
“We really suggest for folks like that they try to get a hold of family and try to make some alternate arrangement for the next day or two because it may be a while before we are able to get to all of those,” he said.
Emma Gardner said she does have neighbors looking in on them.
“One neighbor brought me over coffee in a thermos, and we got invited to go across the street to dinner at 5 o’clock tonight,” she said.
But they don’t want to leave their house.
“My husband, he’s so mad, and I said: Honey, there’s nothing we can do.”