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Weather wallops Whidbey, again

The wacky winter weather just keeps blowing through.

North and Central Whidbey Island were walloped again Wednesday night with high wind gusts that downed lines and cut power to the Seaplane base and thousands of homes on Whidbey Island.

The steady 30 to 40 mph winds, and gusts that measured as high as 54 miles per hour, knocked down trees and power lines throughout the area.

“The high winds caused a lot of havoc,” said Jan Smith with the Island County Sheriff’s Office.

Most of the calls related to the wind storm were trees that had either fallen over the roadway or draped across power lines. She said the winds on North and Central Whidbey Island made for a busy day for deputies.

Approximately 4,500 people on Whidbey Island lost power Wednesday night.

“There were outages up and down the island,” said Roger Thompson, spokesperson from Puget Sound Energy. He said power was restored after midnight and into the early morning.

Jack Taylor, operations and maintenance chief for Island County, said work crews spent Thursday morning removing small branches and debris from county roads.

On the night of the storm, Taylor said Camano Island had more trees that fell and workers had to sand some of the higher-elevation areas where a trace of snow fell.

“Overall, it’s another typical Whidbey Island winter,” Taylor said.

Joe Biller, chief of Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue, said firefighters responded to six calls Wednesday that were related to the high-speed winds. In one incident, the tree snapped lines near the intersection of Black and Sherman roads.

No injuries were reported.

In Oak Harbor, firefighters responded to 11 storm-related calls, mostly trees on power lines.

Battalion Chief Ray Merrill said a transformer blew up and a power pole did catch fire from the arcing electricity. He added that one tree fell onto a house, but it didn’t cause any damage.

North Whidbey Fire and Rescue saw similar storm-related calls. They also had to respond to two people who had trouble operating their oxygen tanks during power outages, said Frank Mueller, assistant chief.

Wednesday’s storm wasn’t as severe as the one that hit Whidbey Island in early February when 70 mph wind gusts and very high tides damaged shoreline communities and knocked out power to 13,200 customers on Whidbey Island.

On Thursday, parts of northern Whidbey Island saw snow and ice pellets.

According to the calendar, there are only nine more days until spring.

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