The storm was expected to start dying down early evening in many areas, including Seattle.

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Two people died and another was severely injured in a destructive windstorm that swept across Washington state Tuesday, leaving tens of thousands without power.

The first fatality, reported about 2 p.m., occurred in the Monroe area, where a tree fell on a car, killing the man inside.  The man is believed to be in his 20s. Snohomish County Fire District 5 Chief Merlin Halverson said no one else apparently was injured when the tree came down along the Ben Howard Road between Monroe and Sultan.

The second death, reported around 3:30 p.m., was in Spokane, where a tree fell on a woman in the 1500 block of west 14th Avenue, according to Spokane police. The woman is believed to be in her 50s.

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Medical investigators have yet to release the identities of the victims.

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Another man in his late 50s was taken to Harborview Medical Center around 4:20 p.m. with significant burns after he touched an electrified fence at his home in Sultan, Halverson said. Wind knocked a power line onto the fence about 600 feet away, sending “tens of thousands” of electric volts through him when he touched it, he said.

“It’s a sad story,” Halverson said. He was just outside “doing things that he would normally do.”

He said a young man tried helping him before medics arrived, and it’s surprising he too was not injured.

“I don’t know how that happened,” he said. “You’d expect both of them to be down.”

National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Burke said the strong winds and rain would taper by 6 p.m. and the rest of the evening’s weather for Seattle and the surrounding areas should be milder.

But an area in the northern Olympic Peninsula as of 6:30 p.m. was still under a storm warning that lasts until 10 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. The warning urged residents to prepare for dangerous sea conditions and to take shelter until the strong winds and waves subside.

The cold front also swept across southern British Columbia, bringing gale-force winds that downed trees and wires, cutting power to tens of thousands of BC Hydro customers.

Tuesday’s gusts throughout the day exceeded 50 mph on the Washington Coast and in some Puget Sound locations, including Everett, by late morning.

Nearly 200,000 electrical customers lost power throughout the day.

The Hood Canal Bridge closed for several hours because of high winds (reopening just after 2 p.m.), and gusts up to 49 mph were recorded on the Highway 520 bridge across Lake Washington.

See a collection of storm photos, videos from Twitter today.

Wind speeds were still climbing at noon, expected to reach the 60 mph range by 4 p.m., according to the Weather Service.

The size and number of power outages was changing nearly by the minute as crews scrambled to deal with limbs and trees on power lines throughout the region.

Around 4:05 p.m.:

  • Puget Sound Energy had more than 191,000 customers without power, spanning east and north King County.
  • Seattle City Light reported slightly over 3,150 customers without power — a little more than half the number reported a few hours earlier. Power had been restored to Alki Elementary and Pathfinder K-8, according to tweets from Seattle Public Schools
  • The Snohomish County PUD reported 24,000 customers without power around 2:30 p.m. The public utilities department restored power for more than 7,000 of them about 30 minutes later.

“We have plenty of crews out there for what we’re seeing so far,” said Snohomish County PUD spokesman Neil Neroutsos. He said outages caused by a limb on a power line can often be fixed within 45 minutes to an hour.

The Snoqualmie River was experiencing moderate flooding as of 3:30 p.m.

The state Department of Transportation on Twitter said at 4:03 p.m. there were two mudslides blocking Highway 2 between Skykomish and Deception Falls.

Snoqualmie Falls put on a forceful show as waters plunged toward the Snoqualmie Valley during an autumn storm on Tuesday. Fallen trees closed roads in the area. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

A mudslide has closed the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20) near Newhalem, a Seattle City Light company town and part of the Skagit Hydroelectric project. The slide is blocking access to Diablo, another small company town.

“It’s not affecting our operations at the hydroelectric project, but it does mean we can’t get employees from Newhalem to Diablo,” said Scott Thomsen, a Seattle City Light spokesman.

Although Tuesday morning rains were not particularly heavy, saturated ground and rivers running close to capacity presented continued danger of floods and landslides.

The Mount Baker Ski Area will open Thursday after getting about 15 inches of snow over the weekend.

A look at the scene in West Seattle:

High winds and waves hit KIRO’s David Ham as he reports from West Seattle during Tuesday’s storm. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

 

 

ORIGINAL BREAKING-NEWS POSTS: 

More than 24,000 Puget Sound Energy customers are without power, according to the utility’s outage map. Seattle City Light reported more than 1,100 homes and businesses had lost power

Update at 11:30 a.m.:  A high-wind warning is in effect for the Seattle area until 4 p.m., but high winds could persist in some areas of the Puget Sound region into the evening, said Allen Kam of the National Weather Service

Winds are blowing from the south. Later Tuesday afternoon, they are expected to shift and begin flowing from the west and northwest. Some areas, like Sequim, Port Angeles, Whidbey Island, Port Townsend, Everett and Mukilteo will likely see strong winds until 10 p.m. Tuesday evening.

“Once you get into King County, the winds will start weakening,” Kam said.

Update at 11:15 a.m.: A mudslide has closed Highway 20 near Newhalem, a Seattle City Light company town and part of the Skagit Hydroelectric project. The slide is blocking access to Diablo, another small company town. 

“It’s not affecting our operations at the hydroelectric project, but it does mean we can’t get employees from Newhalem to Diablo,” said Scott Thomsen, a Seattle City Light spokesman. 

It’s not clear how long the mudslide will take to clear.

Update at 10:50 a.m.A bus near Shoreline College was struck by a falling tree, and its driver was transported to a hospital with minor injuries, said Jeff Switzer, a spokesman for King County Metro. 

“The bus has already been towed and the tree has already been cut up,” Switzer said. He said the driver had neck and back pain after the accident.

A photo shared by the King County Sheriff’s Office showed the bus’ roof was crunched by the tree and its windshield smashed.

Switzer said Metro riders should be prepared for delays to transit service as weather affects buses. He said power outages might affect electric trolleys and routes could be blocked by trees downed in high winds.

Switzer suggested riders sign up for transit alerts and plan ahead for delays.

Update at 10:49 a.m.: The Hood Canal bridge has been closed due to high winds. 

Update at 10:40 a.m.: More power outages have been reported. In Gold Bar, 2,160 customers are affected; in Snohomish, 660; and between Snohomish and South Lake Stevens, 1,870, according to Snohomish PUD. In Shoreline, Seattle City Light reports, 2,991 are without power.

Update at 10:25 a.m.: Power outages have been reported in South Park, in parts of West Seattle east of Delridge Way SW and in Shoreline. More than 5,000 Seattle City Light customers are without power. 

Update at 10:10 a.m.: Power has been restored to Alki Elementary and Pathfinder K-8, according to tweets from Seattle Public Schools.

Update at 10:00 a.m.: Puget Sound Energy reports more than 8,000 customers have lost power, including more than 3,000 in Sammamish, about 1,300 near Duvall and about 1,300 in Woodinville. A traffic light on Front Street near I-90 is out in Issaquah, according to a tweet from the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Update at 9:30 a.m.: Snohomish PUD reported just after 9 a.m. that 1,680 customers are without power in East Tulalip/Northwest Marysville.

Update at 8:50 a.m.: About 4,900 people in West Seattle are without power. Seattle City Light is investigating the outage and estimates power will be restored by noon, according to its outage map. Alki Elementary and Pathfinder K-8 are without power, but school is still in session and kids are working by flashlight. 

Original story: Winds began to pick up Tuesday morning as a strong storm moved through the Puget Sound region. A high-wind warning will begin at 8 a.m. for the region, said Dana Felton, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Felton said 20-40 mph sustained winds are expected to blow through the region, with gusts as high as 60 mph.

The warning will last through 4 p.m.

The storm won’t bring heavy rain to the lowlands.

“It’s going to rain today, but I don’t think it’s going to be excessive,” Felton said.

The mountains should receive a drenching, though. Three to six inches of precipitation are expected, and  forecasters are watching for flooding.

“The flood watch is still out, we’ve got warnings up on a few rivers. There’s a good chance that will increase later this morning,” Felton said.

The Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers were flooding, according to King County’s flood warning system.

Because the ground is already saturated from earlier storms, landslides and blown-over trees are possible, Felton said.

“We’re still quite concerned, especially about the tree situation … we’re already over our monthly normal (for precipitation) in Seattle,” Felton said. “You get strong winds over the top and there’s definitely potential for trees to come down.”

Some mountain snow fell overnight and more is expected on the tail end of the storm, but skiers shouldn’t get too excited.

“The snow we got last night is just going to get washed away,” Felton said.  “Snow levels will drop back down tonight, but the precipitation amounts will decrease dramatically. We’re only expecting a few inches,” Felton said.

The Mount Baker Ski Area will open Thursday after getting about 15 inches of snow over the weekend.

On Monday, the state Department of Transportation announced the closure of the North Cascades Highway (Highway 20).

Here’s a collection of storm photos and videos from Twitter:

A collection of photos from social media showing Tuesday’s dramatic weather and its effects.

https://storify.com/seattletimes/stormy-weather-wreaks-havoc-across-western-washing