Fall storm rolls through

Fall storm rolls through
SEATTLE - The storm has passed its peak, and winds are now gradually slowing down across the area.

Here are some of the peak wind gusts of the storm through the day Thursday:

  • Alki Beach: 66 mph
  • Spanaway: 62 mph
  • Newport, Ore: 60 mph
  • Astoria, Ore.: 60 mph
  • Tatoosh Island: 59 mph
  • SR-520 Bridge: 58 mph
  • Tacoma (Fort Lewis): 58 mph
  • Everett: 56 mph
  • Ocean Shores: 56 mph (unofficial)
  • Hoquiam: 56 mph
  • Seattle (Magnolia/West Point Lighthouse): 54 mph
  • Seattle (Sea-Tac): 53 mph
  • Tacoma (Narrows): 53 mph
  • Bellingham: 51 mph
  • Shelton: 51 mph
  • Seattle (Sand Point): 49 mph
  • Oak Harbor: 49 mph
  • Tacoma (McChord AFB): 48 mph
  • Shelton: 47 mph
  • Puyallup: 46 mph
  • Olympia: 46 mph
  • Renton: 46 mph
  • Burlington: 43 mph
  • Kelso: 43 mph
  • Seattle (Boeing Field): 41 mph
  • Seattle (UW Campus): 40 mph
  • Bremerton: 40 mph

Weather-Related News:

A Seattle man drowned while kite-surfing on Lake Washington near the Kirkland marina.

Seattle Harbor Patrol responded to reports of a kite surfer in trouble around 5:30 p.m. They arrived to find the 44-year-old man floating face down. The unidentified man could not be revived.

Firefighters safely evacuated about a dozen kids from a school bus on State Route 169 near Maple Valley when an energized power line fell on the bus about 3:30 p.m.

Part of SR 169 remained blocked near 240th Street while Puget Sound Energy crews worked to repair the power line.

In Kent, a woman was hit by a falling tree in the parking lot of the Kent Station Shopping Mall about 2:30 p.m.

Kent Fire Department Captain Kyle Ohashi said the woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious injuries.

Augusta Foster was inside her Steilacoom home when the first strong winds sent a large tree smashing through the center of her house.

"I was pretty shook up," she said. "I didn't know where to go because I didn't know what trees were falling."

No one was injured, but Foster's house suffered extensive damage.

The wind initially left over 100,000 in the dark. As of late Thursday night, Snohomish PUD reported 12,000 customers are in the dark -- mainly in Snohomish, Marysville and Everett. Puget Sound Energy reports some small scattered outages in Thurston and King counties.

Seattle City Light reports about 10,000 customers without power, many of those in West Seattle, South Seattle near Spokane Street, and North Seattle near NE 125th Street. The Fauntleroy ferry dock lost power as well.

Tacoma Public Utilities reports 800 are without power with most of the utility's outages occurring in rural Pierce County, around Frederickson, Graham and Elk Plain. Some people in Snohomish County are without power due to several transmission line failures.

Downed power lines across railroad tracks used by Sound Transit in Kent affected train service on runs 1511 and 1509 between Seattle and Tacoma. One viewer whose wife was on board one of the trains said that they were asked to leave the train and they would be bused to the Auburn station, where alternate train cars would take them home.

A power outage struck King County's Factoria Transfer Station in Bellevue, forcing an indefinite closure of the facility.

Strong winds forced the Hood Canal Bridge to close. The DOT says it will be closed between 4:40 and 8:40 p.m. The 520 Bridge remained open as of 4:45 p.m., despite wind gusts on the bridge occasionally toping 50 mph.

The wind also toppled a new metal sculpture under construction at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

What's Happening Now, Weather-Wise:

The storm is now passing through the area, and is working its way out. Winds have peaked and are on their way down this evening.

The storm didn't behave quite as we anticipated --- it became incredibly complex and very difficult to track as the storm center didn't form in a traditional sense. We use computer forecasting models to get a sense of storms as they form in the days and hours preceding their arrival, but when it gets close, we like to see it actually form on the satellite image.

This storm didn't get much development around its center though, and that made the center hard to spot on the satellite image. In fact, the storm center came in further south, a bit weaker, and moved through much faster than we thought. It appeared the storm center was still offshore around 2 p.m., when in reality, it was already pushing through the Puget Sound area.

The fact that the storm was weaker was offset by it coming in much closer to the Puget Sound region. So all in all, the forecast held just about to form, even though the storm didn't play out as we were expecting. It was about 2 hours early, and the San Juan Islands were much calmer than we thought they would be, but the reported wind gusts fell in the range that we were expecting.

The storm did some crazy things besides wind. With strong southwest winds aloft, the Olympic Rain Shadow came out in full force around noon, opening up sunny skies in Sequim and the northeast Olympic Peninsula. A second rain shadow came off the Willapa Hills, allowing the sun to break through in south-central Washington. Meanwhile along the coast, the temperature went up 9 degrees in 17 minutes at Hoquiam when the wind shifted.

Anyway, it'll be a storm that the weather community will study for a while.