High winds buffet W. Washington, nearly 85,000 lose power - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

High winds buffet W. Washington, nearly 85,000 lose power

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Associated Press - November 12, 2007 9:05 PM ET

SEATTLE (AP) - Winds gusting to more than 70 mph blew trees and branches onto power lines and cut electricity to nearly 85,000 homes and businesses across Western Washington today.

The number of electrical outages grew as winds rose throughout the region, starting well before daybreak.

1 of the earliest outages was before dawn around Monroe, where about 8,000 customers lost power for a time after three substations went off line.

That problem was resolved fairly quickly, but later storm-related problems cut power to about 1,400 customers in the Lake Stevens area.

The region's largest utility, Puget Sound Energy, had roughly 37,000 customers in the dark in nine counties, with Whatcom and Thurston hit the hardest.

More than 15,000 customers were without electricity in the Grays Harbor County Public Utility District.

At least 9,300 Cowlitz County PUD customers were in the dark, along with 8,000 in the Clallam County PUD.

Seattle City Light reported nearly 3,900 customers without power in the Burien area because of a failure in a feeder line and more than 100 within Seattle for other reasons.

Eastern Washington also had problems. Spokane-based Avista Utilities said about 1,140 customers were without power in Eastern Washington and northern Idaho from wind-related power outages.

At the Hanford nuclear reservation, all non-essential Hanford employees north of the Wye Barricade were released from work at 2:30 p.m. today.

Only essential employees remained at work through the rest of the shift.

The Bremerton-Seattle ferry route was back to a two-boat schedule this afternoon after repairs were made to the auto ferry Hyak.

But ferry officials warned of possible delays through this evening on the Bremerton route due to added traffic from the Seattle Seahawks-San Francisco 49ers game at Qwest Field.

The Hyak was pulled out of service earlier this afternoon because of a rudder problem. The vessel returned to service with a late 5:30 p.m.

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