1 dead, 2 hurt as strong winds whip through region

1 dead, 2 hurt as strong winds whip through region
RANDLE, Wash. -- Strong winds that roared through parts of Western Washington Tuesday with gusts as high as 55 mph claimed a life and injured two others.

Kwansok Kim, 70, was killed and his 62-year-old wife Pok was seriously injured when a gust of wind toppled a tree into their car near Randle Tuesday morning.

The couple was driving on Forest Road No. 23 near where it meets Cispus Road when the tree blew over and struck their car as they were passing underneath, said troopers with the Washington State Patrol. Pok Kim was rushed to Morton General Hospital with serious injuries.

Troopers say the tree also brought down power lines, making the recovery efforts difficult.

Meanwhile, officials with Eastside Fire and Rescue say a 15-year-old girl suffered a broken leg when a large tree limb fell across her legs at Camp Waskowitz near North Bend just before 11:30.

The Highline School District says the girl was part of a class at the camp learning about the environment at an overnight trip.

When the wind kicked up Tuesday morning, she and other students were told to come into the main building from their dorms, but that's when the branch broke off and landed on her leg.

"It was good sized. Probably about 10 feet long and about 6 inches in diameter came down," said Mark Vetter with Eastside Fire and Rescue.

The girl was taken to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue for treatment.

Near Des Moines, Chris Irwin was waiting for the school bus with her 8-year-old daughter along with another mom and her son when a tree came crashing down, taking power lines with it.

"Came down across the road and wires snapped and went everywhere," Irwin said. "There were sparks and the kids kind of freaked out."

A similar situation played out in Enumclaw. Kelsey Cleveland was trying to get home from work when a power line came down right in front of her.

"It was shooting blue fireworks and the fence was on fire and the grass was on fire," Cleveland said.

A tree also fell across SR-18 just west of the Tiger Mountain Summit, briefly blocking the westbound lanes Tuesday afternoon.

Winds gusted between 40-45 mph for most of Tuesday across the Cascade foothills and southeaster King/Northeaster Pierce County. But one National Weather Service spotter in North Bend reported a gust of 55 mph with several tree limbs snapped and some trees ranging in 18-22 inches in diameter down across area roads. Some of those trees also knocked down power lines.

Puget Sound Energy said about 5,000 customers lost electricity at the storm's peak with about 3,500 still in the dark as of midday. Most of the outages were caused by downed trees and limbs on power lines in more than 70 locations, including Kent, Des Moines, Covington and Enumclaw.

A Wind Advisory remains in effect until 8 p.m. for the Cascade foothill communities where gusts will continue between 30-40 mph with occasional higher gusts. Strong, gusty winds to 40-45 mph are also possible along the western end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The east winds taper off Tuesday night as the storm moves off to the north. Meanwhile, a front associated with the storm moves in early Wednesday morning, bringing another round of steady rain for a while. It won't be until after this front passes around mid-to-late morning that the Puget Sound area and other spots get their usual southwest breezes with this storm, but nothing out of the ordinary expected for winds.

Rainy weather continues Thursday and Friday before getting a bit of a break this weekend.