The National Weather Service issued a high-wind warning starting midafternoon Saturday and extending into early Sunday. Officials urged caution.
A falling branch left a 4-year-old boy seriously injured in Seattle, tens of thousands of customers lost electricity around the region, and dozens of people were stranded at a Clallam County lake in Friday’s phase of a wind and rainstorm that is expected to deliver its strongest punch Saturday.
The National Weather Service warned of strong winds starting around 3 p.m. Saturday. The agency issued a high-wind warning for the afternoon to extend into early Sunday. Sustained wind speeds are expected to range from 30 to 45 mph, with gusts that could reach 65 to 70 mph. Officials urged caution.
Overall, Friday was seen as a preview, with pockets of frightening intensity that included a tornado in an Oregon beach town.
What to do if the power goes out
• Never approach or touch a downed power line or anything in contact with the wire.
• Never use barbecues or portable propane or kerosene heaters for indoor heating. They use oxygen and create carbon monoxide that can cause suffocation.
• Turn off lights and electrical appliances, except for refrigerator and freezer.
• Unplug computers to protect them from possible surges when power is restored.
First responders scrambled Friday to help those in need, while utility crews responded to the scattered outages.
Among those hurt Friday was the 4-year-old boy in Seattle’s Fauntleroy neighborhood, according to the Seattle Fire Department. His father also suffered minor injuries. Both were taken to Harborview Medical Center, fire authorities said.
As of late Friday, the boy remained in the intensive-care unit, according to hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg.
Also, a Whidbey Island man in his 60s was hospitalized after a tree fell on him while he was inspecting storm damage, according to a spokesman with the Island County Sheriff’s Office.
And in Olympic National Park, the Coast Guard rescued a group from Camp David Jr. that had become stranded at Lake Crescent. KOMO News reported that the group of 40 children and six adults became stuck there after the camp lost power and fallen trees blocked the main roads.
Also in Clallam County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning emergency repairs to a damaged 300-foot section of coastal rock jetty in La Push. The repairs won’t be completed until after Saturday’s storm.
If waves breach the jetty, Gene Ewan, harbor master at the Quileute Marina, said “we would get the full brunt of the ocean coming across the levee into our river, straight into the village of La Push … it has the potential to be real serious.”
The number of power outages in the area fluctuated throughout Friday. At one point in the afternoon, more than 40,000 Puget Sound Energy customers were without power. Seattle City Light reported roughly 10,230 customers affected around that time.
“We’re staffed up and ready to roll,” Puget Sound Energy (PSE) spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt said. Heading into Saturday, she said the utility has brought in extra crews from nearby areas to help with outages and cleanup.
The bad weather comes after days of warnings.
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Earlier in the week, weather models showed a good chance of the system — remnants of a Pacific typhoon — walloping Western Washington as one of the worst storms in years. The storm’s severity, however, will depend on how it tracks, and as of Friday evening, that remained unclear.
“Whoever gets hit, is going to get hit pretty hard,” Weather Service meteorologist Jay Albrecht said.
In Manzanita, a city on the northern Oregon coast 90 miles west of Portland, a tornado was reported about 8:20 a.m. Friday. There were no known injuries, but the wind uprooted trees and caused structural damage, such as shattered windows.
“Suddenly the whole sky was filled with debris,” said Debbie Harmon, owner of the Amanita Gallery in Manzanita. “It was just crazy. And then it just stopped.”
Later in the morning, gusts of 43 mph were reported at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Higher speeds around 50 mph were reported north of the metro area, weather service meteorologist Art Gaebel said. The wind tapered in the evening.
The Seattle area got 1 to 3 inches of rain between Thursday and Friday afternoon, Gaebel said. Meteorologists expect rain, at least in the form of showers, every day for the next week in Seattle, according to the service’s seven-day forecast.
The stormy conditions Friday followed strong winds and rain Thursday that swept across Western Washington and Oregon.
Portland had the rainiest Oct. 13 in its history, and the weather service said a 103 mph wind gust was recorded at Cape Meares on the Oregon Coast.
For the past several days, officials have stressed storm preparedness, including tips for stocking emergency kits and how to respond to a power outage. On Friday, the city of Seattle urged residents to defer traveling during the weekend’s storm; to avoid and report fallen power lines and trees; and to be cautious around flooding.
“We want people to be prepared for power outages because if this storm (Saturday) does bring these high winds that are predicted, we really could see a lot of damage,” said PSE’s Betancourt.
For the latest weather information, follow the National Weather Service’s Seattle office on Twitter at @NWSSeattle. And for information on river flooding in King County and other storm-related help, look to kingcounty.gov.