SEATTLE (AP) — Frigid wind gusts that knocked trees onto power lines in western Washington were easing Wednesday, but the cold lingered, with a chance of snow Thursday south of Olympia and south of Interstate 90 in eastern Washington, forecasters said.
Forty mph winds blasted through the Puget Sound lowlands Tuesday night, said Johnny Burg, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Seattle. A gust near Enumclaw reached 61 mph.
At one time, Puget Sound Energy had about 60,000 customers without service, spokesman Ray Lane said.
Crews working in continuing winds had the frustration of seeing some areas they had restored going dark again as more trees fell.
By Wednesday morning, service had been restored to a total of 136,000 customers but more than 53,000 remained out, he said.
The hardest-hit area was near Federal Way where a high-voltage transmission line took a big hit from falling trees, Lane said.
Power outages closed or delayed schools Wednesday in Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Auburn and Fife.
Most low temperatures in western Washington were in the 20s and 30s — not record-breaking, Burg said. They should warm gradually Thursday, but moisture moving into the state could start falling as snow south of Olympia before changing to rain, he said.
Eastern Washington remains colder, with some lows into single digits and highs only in the 20s, said meteorologist Matt Fugazzi in the weather service office in Spokane.
“We’re getting the bleed over from the real cold from the Great Plains,” he said.
Any snow Thursday in eastern Washington will likely remain south of Interstate 90, said meteorologist Douglas Weber with the weather service office in Pendleton, Oregon.
Three to 5 inches are expected in the lowlands and 6 to 10 inches on the east slopes of the Cascades and Blue Mountains.
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