Clinton and Langley residents can expect to get their power back sometime today, but the rest of South Whidbey will have to wait until Saturday, Puget Sound Energy announced this morning.
The estimated restoration times were released on the utility’s website early Thursday, a little more than one day after Tuesday’s windstorm knocked out power to about 220,000 customers across the region. As of 8 a.m., that number had been reduced to just 14,000.
“We currently have a total of 78 crews along with servicemen, tree crews, damage assessors and hundreds of support personnel in the field,” the company said in an update. “As crews finish work in one area, they will reinforce crews in areas without power.”
Other places still without power, all with varying estimated restoration times, include: Kitsap, north and south King, Pierce, Skagit, Thurston and Whatcom counties. Service has been restored to most of North Whidbey, but some will be without electricity until Friday, according to PSE.
South Whidbey was one of the hardest communities hit, and progress was slow assessing damage due to road debris, the company reported yesterday. Highway 525 was clear by Wednesday morning, but road crews, including those from Island County Public Works, were still busy clearing downed trees and getting rural roads clear.
Many had already spent a chilly night without power, and people were lining up at gas stations to buy fuel for hungry generators. The wait at the Valero in Clinton was about 30 minutes.
Among those at the pumps were Langley residents Leonard and Linda Good. They had some trees fall on their property, but weathered the storm fine and managed not to freeze overnight.
“We have a wood stove so that kept us warm,” said Linda Good, with a smile.
She noted that this past December they were without power for five days. She was hoping it wouldn’t be as long this time.
Others were less fortunate. Mike Cotton, deputy chief for South Whidbey Fire/EMS, reported trees fell on at least two houses near Langley; no one was hurt but both homes are uninhabitable. One family contacted by The Record declined to be interviewed.
Falling trees were a fright for many across the South End. A large evergreen fell on Pirate Lane in Freeland, toppling toward a home and dragging down power lines along the way, and on the east side several fell on Sanna Wind Way off East Saratoga; one about 15 feet from Arlene Crouch’s front door.
“I was at the window when it went down,” she said. “But I wasn’t scared because it was going the other way.”
“I’ve survived for 80 years, so I wasn’t scared of a little tree going down.”
The tree feel onto East Saratoga, taking out utility lines. Another equally large tree feel parallel to the street nearby, and another smaller tree onto a house at the end of the neighborhood.
Despite the mess, and being without power, Crouch said they weren’t making a big deal of it.
“We’re not bugging anyone though, we know how it goes,” she said. “We’re pioneers.”
Just how many trees came down during Tuesday’s storm is unknown, but people are reporting downed trees from Clinton to Greenbank. The Record will continue to provide updates as they become available.