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A dress rehearsal for winter

Steve and Meilynn Smith hike up West Port Madison Road Friday with jugs for propane, water and generator fuel. Dozens of homes are cut off due to storm damage from Wednesday. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Steve and Meilynn Smith hike up West Port Madison Road Friday with jugs for propane, water and generator fuel. Dozens of homes are cut off due to storm damage from Wednesday.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

Tom Fehsenfeld had been asking the city and power company to cut down a rotten maple tree near his home on West Port Madison for months.

On Thursday evening, his request was granted - not by a utility crew, but by a windstorm that bowled over the maple and several other trees, snapping a utility pole and knocking power lines onto the roadway.

Traffic was backed up for hours on the road, and power was still out in the area Friday morning.

"I've been desperately trying to get the city and Puget Sound power to cut down a particular group of trees, and now it has come down and blocked the road," Fehsenfeld said.

Approximately 300 Puget Sound Energy customers on Bainbridge were still without power Friday morning after wind gusts of over 50 mph raked Puget Sound from early afternoon through 11 p.m. Thursday.

PSE spokesperson Linda Streissguth said utility crews were working to restore electricity to four especially hard hit areas on the island: Country Club, Battle Point, Hidden Cove and Crystal Springs.

Streissguth said PSE expected power to be restored in Battle Point by 3 p.m. Friday, followed by Country Club early in the evening.

She said crews weren't sure how soon lights would be back on in Hidden Cove and Crystal Springs, and that scattered outages across the island might not be addressed until late Saturday.

Close to 50,000 homes lost power in Kitsap and Jefferson Counties at the height of Thursday's storm; north Bainbridge was among the hardest hit areas.

The Bainbridge Island Fire department had a busy Thursday evening. Reports of downed trees and power lines began rolling in around 2 p.m., Operations Chief Luke Carpenter said.

A tree fell on a home near the junction of highway and High School Road, but no one was injured.

The department also responded to a call of heavy smoke coming from an apartment in Lynwood Center.

It turned out the residents had left their home in the middle of cooking dinner when their lights went out, and when the power came back the electric stove fired back up and charred their food.

"You can put that down as a little reminder from the fire department: when the power goes off, please turn off your stove," Carpenter said.

Overall, Carpenter said he was pleased with the department's response to the storm. All calls were handled, and no injuries were reported.

He said the city was much better prepared this time than it was for last winter's storms, especially when it came to communication between fire, police, Public Works and PSE.

"Lessons learned from the last storm were practiced and put to the test with good results," Carpenter said.

According to the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Association, no more severe wind is in the immediate forecast. The agency predicts the wind will die down over the weekend and be replaced with heavy showers.

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