Northwest receives rain, snow, wind

January 11, 2014 

Powerful winds knocked out power for thousands in the Portland area on Saturday and forecasters say more stormy weather is in store.

The National Weather Service says winds were clocked as high as 70 mph on the coast and 40 mph in the Willamette Valley Saturday afternoon. There were isolated thunderstorms and lighting.

Forecasters say colder air moving in will dump 12 to 18 inches of snow in the Cascades overnight, with as much as two feet possible at higher elevations by the end of the weekend. However, strong winds forced Timberline Lodge to close ski lifts.

A warm front Sunday is expected to bring heavy rain to the Valley on Sunday, followed by dryer weather across Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington by Monday night.

High winds knocked out power Saturday to tens of thousands of electricity customers in Western Washington, and crews worked to get them back on line for residents hoping to watch the Seattle Seahawks playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.

Puget Sound Energy reported more than 500 outages affecting nearly 40,000 customers Saturday morning, and said its crews were "in Beast Mode" working to restore it — a reference to the bruising style of running back Marshawn Lynch.

CenturyLink Field, where the game was being played, was not affected by the outages. But some 33,000 customers in the area remained without power at game time, many of them on the Kitsap Peninsula west of Seattle.

By halftime the figure was back up to 40,000. On its Twitter feed, Puget Sound Energy urged businesses showing the game on TV to let customers know where they could watch it.

Seattle City Light said that at one point early Saturday, it had 28,000 customers without electricity, but it managed to restore 20,000 of them within a few hours. Nevertheless, more heavy rain, winds and hail swept through early Saturday afternoon, cutting power to thousands more.

The utilities advised people without power for the 1:30 p.m. PST game to find someplace else to watch it, such as the big screen at the Seattle Central Library.

Wind gusts in the region reached more than 50 mph, the National Weather Service reported. Crystal Mountain ski resort near Mount Rainier shut down its upper chair lifts.

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