More than 300 Whidbey Islanders still in dark

All power should return by 3 p.m. Monday, PSE says

Around 300 homes on Whidbey Island still without power from Thursday’s windstorm should be lit up by Monday afternoon, Puget Sound Energy officials stated in an update.

“Whidbey Island was one of the areas hardest hit by Thursday’s destructive windstorm,” PSE reported on its website. “We anticipate the last customers without power to be restored by 3 p.m. today (Monday.) Most customers will be restored sooner.”

As of 6 a.m. Monday, PSE reported approximately 1,100 customers remained without power throughout the region — about one-third of them lived on Whidbey Island.

All of Whidbey Island hooked up to PSE service — about 37,000 residences and businesses — lost power about 11 a.m. Thursday. Around 15,000 were still without power Friday afternoon.

A wind storm with reported gusts up to 60 mph blew into the Puget Sound region Thursday morning, toppling trees and power lines throughout a wide swath of communities. In total, the power outage affected about 323,000 customers from Point Roberts on the Canadian border to Tenino, south of Olympia.

Two houses and the Greenbank Progressive Club were significantly damaged by downed trees. Fire Chief Ed Hartin of Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue said no injuries were reported.

Around 5 p.m. Sunday, Christmas lights blinked on for some South Whidbey residents who’d been living by candlelight or generators for more than three days.

According to the PSE outage map, all major communities on Whidbey had pockets of neighborhoods without power as of Monday morning.

In Oak Harbor, 104 homes were reported, Greenbank, 74, Coupeville, 32, Freeland, 53, Langley, 27 and 30 customers in Clinton remained without electricity.

“We’ve made great progress, and many of the remaining outages are impacting small pockets of customers, a result of extensive damage that requires time-consuming repairs,” PSE said in a statement. “Crews are going neighborhood by neighborhood to restore distribution electric service, which gets get restored in much smaller numbers, such as to 5, 10 or 20 customers at a time.”

In addition to local power lines, larger transmission lines were also damaged.

By 5 a.m. Friday, much of Coupeville and Oak Harbor was back on line.

But other customers were told damage to power lines was extensive and to plan to be without electricity into the weekend.

Friday, South Whidbey School District canceled classes.

Fire departments reported no injuries but responded to calls about downed lines and trees, stuck elevators and carbon monoxide alarms going off because of misuse of alternative power and cooking sources.

Fire districts called in as many volunteers as possible. Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue responded to around 50 wind-related calls Thursday, according to Hartin.

Most of the calls related to trees and power lines down. Two power lines fell on top of cars, and although the people inside were uninjured, they were trapped in the vehicles for about an hour, Hartin said.

— Estimated restoration times of power are updated at https://www.pse.com/outage/outage-map

(Laura Guido contibuted to this story)

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