Wild wind whips island

"Storm blows down trees, power lines, traps two in car on West Beach Road"

  • Thursday, January 13, 2000 12:00pm
  • News

“A storm that whipped winds up to 66 mph Sunday morning hit Whidbey hard enough to pull wood and concrete to the ground.In the most dangerous incident, a power pole fell on top of a car on West Beach Road, trapping two occupants inside until the power company could turn off the electricity.Marv Koorn, the chief of Island County Fire District 2 south division, said that the winds snapped seven power poles along West Beach Road early in the morning. According to the Washington State Patrol, one of the poles landed on top of a 1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse driven by 25-year-old Efton Chism of Renton at around 7:30 a.m. Chism and his passenger, 27-year-old Bryan Simonson of Snohomish, were trapped in the car for an hour and a half because of the high-voltage wires that covered the car.Neither of the men were injured.Karl Kirn, the corporate relations manager for Puget Sound Energy, said it took crews an usually long time to get the men out of the car because the winds knocked down both the power transmission and distribution lines. He said that crews had to ground the lines at “both ends” to assure they were safe.Monday afternoon, Koorn said part of West Beach Road was still closed while the power company put up poles and power lines.Puget Sound Energy Spokesperson Dorothy Bracken said that the downed power poles caused power outages to about 500 customers south of Oak Harbor. She said power wasn’t completely restored to all the customers until mid-day on Monday.South of Coupeville, the high winds pushed over an old concrete bulkhead at the end of Driftwood Way. According to the county, the sea wall is privately owned.Oak Harbor Marina Harbormaster Dave Williams said the marina measured the fastest winds of the winter over the weekend, with gusts up to 58 mph Saturday and up to 66 mph early Sunday. Yet he said he was extremely relieved that the docks sustained very little damage. “There’s a couple of (breakwater) wall sections moving that didn’t move before,” he said.Last month, a less severe wind storm caused thousands of dollars of damage at the marina. But now, Williams said that the marina is “shored up so well” that the damage was minimized.The Island County Sheriff’s Department received reports of a tree down on North Bluff Road, gravel blown across West Beach Road and a tree down on an air strip on Keystone Hill Road Sunday morning.Neither the Oak Harbor Fire Department or the north division of the Island County Fire District reported any storm damage.”

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