Rare May storm knocks out power to thousands

Rare May storm knocks out power to thousands »Play Video
SEATTLE -- According to the calendar, we are almost closer to summer than winter now.

To anyone who walked outside today or spent the afternoon in the dark, that might seem like a cruel joke.

A very late winter-like storm rolled through Western Washington Monday, bringing gusty winds, heavy mountain snows, and knocking out power to over 24,000 people.

Whidbey Island was getting the brunt of the storm's winds, with frequent gusts over 50 mph through Monday morning and afternoon, topping out with a peak gust of 56 mph.

Here are some other peak gusts from the storm so far:

  • Oak Harbor: 56 mph
  • Alki Beach (W. Seattle): 51 mph
  • Arlington: 48 mph
  • Everett: 47 mph
  • Shelton: 47 mph
  • Tacoma: 45 mph
  • Port Angeles: 41 mph
  • Gig Harbor: 41 mph
  • Olympia: 40 mph
  • Bellingham: 39 mph
  • Seattle (Sea-Tac): 39 mph
  • Hoquiam: 39 mph

The strong winds knocked over trees and limbs in several areas across the Puget Sound region, causing scattered power outages. We've seen trees down in Renton, Federal Way, Arlington and Auburn.

In Mount Vernon, a tree fell across SR-534 near Bulson Road, and as our news crew was filming the downed tree, another one came down just a few feet away. In Arlington, a massive tree wiped out a second-story deck of a home and punched a hole in the roof.

"Well, I was just glad it wasn't raining because there is a hole in the roof and I didn't want to have to eat dinner in the rain," said Curtis McKay, who is renting the home.


DOT image of tree down across SR-18.

In Federal Way, a tree toppled across SR-18 near 42nd Ave. S.during the early Monday commute, blocking most of the lanes and snarling traffic.

Puget Sound Energy reported 16,000 without power at one point Monday afternoon, with most in the Puyallup area. Mercer Island and Renton had outages earlier in the morning.

Snohomish County PUD said 8,000 were in the dark, mainly in Marysville and Arlington areas.

Seattle City Light had scattered outages, mainly in the early Monday morning hours in the Rainier Beach area.

A High Wind Warning remains in effect for the Whidbey Island area until 9 p.m. but other wind advisories have been dropped as the winds have peaked and will slowly subside through Monday evening and night.

Mountain Snow:

This storm also brought a late season dose of snow to the mountains. Stevens Pass reported 12 inches of snow since Sunday evening, and another 6-10 inches more were possible Monday night. Snoqualmie Pass has been spared snow so far, but they were on the hook for some snow Monday night as a Puget Sound Convergence Zone formed.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the Cascades through 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Focus Changes From Wind To Lightning

As the winds calm down, we turn our attention to an active Puget Sound Convergence Zone that has formed in its usual spot between Seattle and Everett. This zone is likely to touch off heavy rain showers with possible lightning and hail and/or ice pellets through Monday night. It's also possible this zone will sink south through the night, spreading heavy rain and possible hail into the Downtown Seattle/Bellevue area, and even down as far as Tukwila and Renton toward dawn.

Outside this zone, we'll see scattered showers roaming around through the night that could also contain some lightning and/or hail.

Active Tuesday, too

The main rain and wind will be done with Monday evening, but with a very cold air mass in place on Tuesday, it's a recipe for heavy showers roaming around with potential for thunderstorms with hail and/or ice pellets. A Convergence Zone is also a good bet to reform Tuesday morning in the usual Everett to Northgate area, bringing a higher chance of rain and thunderstorms there.

The zone could also slide south into Seattle during the day or afternoon again, so keep an eye to the skies Tuesday as well.

By Wednesday, we start getting back to some semblance of normal with calmer weather the rest of the week -- which would be nice to have a Mother's Day without so much Mother Nature.