High winds whip the Plateau

An eastern wind sailed down the west face of the Cascades Nov. 11, slamming into the Plateau and the surrounding area while knocking down trees, power lines, fences and anything not nailed or weighted down.

A PSE worker restoring power.

An eastern wind sailed down the west face of the Cascades Nov. 11, slamming into the Plateau and the surrounding area while knocking down trees, power lines, fences and anything not nailed or weighted down.

The Enumclaw area had sustained winds in the 40s with gusts hitting more than 60 mph, uprooting trees and sending roof shingles sailing. The East Pierce Firefighters IAFF Local 3520 Facebook site reported at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 11 that firefighters responded to 55 calls. Many were for downed trees power lines.

The National Weather Service logged wind gusts at SeaTac of 43 mph with sustained winds of 30 mph.At about 10 p.m. Nov. 11 a Douglas fir crashed down across state Route 169 between 400th Street and 424th Street near Enumclaw. The tree took out power lines and telephone poles on both sides of the road.

Minutes after the tree fell, with temperatures hovering in the low 30s, residents stepped out and placed flares on the road and helped drivers find alternate routes before police officers arrived.

SR 169 was closed until Friday while Puget Sound Energy workers repaired the damaged lines and power poles.The wind continued the morning of Nov. 12  with gusts in the 40s and 50s, dropping more trees and creating problems for PSE workers trying to make repairs.

Black Diamond police officers closed 224th Avenue Southeast and hot power lines were down on Southeast 296th Street around noon. Officers had six calls for downed trees by 1 p.m.

Cliff Mass’ website, cliffmass.blogspot.com, stated Nov. 11 gusts on Crystal Mountain, “reached 91 mph, while maximum gusts reached 50-70 mph near Enumclaw…. Enumclaw and environs is downstream of a low area of the Cascades that allows the air to accelerate westward.”

The wind continued until Friday, although by Thursday evening the speed dropped except for a few hard gusts.

This week the weather is forecast to return to what is expected for November – many days of rain.


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