Wind, rain leads to power outages across Kitsap County

A wild and windy start to the first full week of June intermittently put tens of thousands of Puget Sound Energy customers throughout Kitsap County in the dark.

Strong winds June 3 – the National Weather Service warning of gusts up to 40 mph – combined with heavy rainfall the day before created the perfect recipe for disaster for the energy provider and its customers. Tree limbs or the trees themselves destabilized by saturated soils fell onto power lines countywide.

Making things worse was the extra weight being carried by the tree limbs, PSE’s Gerald Tracy saying they are heavy with spring foliage. “A majority of our outages are in north King County, though there are 664 without power as of 3:30 p.m. in Kitsap County.”

The PSE spokesman said around 39,000 customers in Kitsap experienced power outages within a 24-hour timeframe. Crews have taken roughly two hours to address each individual outage, depending on the location and level of damage.

Schools in the South Kitsap School District saw operations interrupted by the outages at South Kitsap High School, Explorer Academy and the Armory Facility.

Freshman Thandi Milam said she was doing laps around the hall when the lights flickered and went out. “They sent us out to the football field, everybody that was out at lunch,” she said. “They kept classes going, though. Everybody that had a window had to go back.”

Power came back on at the high school around 12:20 p.m., a relief to district officials. “We looked into busing students home early but our team would not have time to get high school students home midday and be back in time for the rest of the runs,” SKSD said in a brief statement. “Thankfully, power has been restored.”

High winds are expected to continue with more rain possible. PSE asks customers to be prepared for more outages.

Drivers are encouraged to watch out for obstructions such as tree limbs or other debris and to treat any blank traffic lights at intersections as four-way stops.