Our crews are making steady progress restoring power to customers impacted by high winds and heavy rains. As of 1 p.m., approximately 35,000 homes and businesses are without power. Outages are spread across King, Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap Counties.
Many roads are flooded and closed, making it difficult for our crews and equipment to get into certain areas. The logistical challenges are slowing damage assessment, which is the first step in the restoration process. That process can normally take 24 hours or longer, especially if weather remains an issue. We are using helicopters to patrol damaged areas.
Additional crews from outside our service area are arriving to support our crews already in the field.
Each outage site is assessed for the damage and type of repairs that are needed. This is why “under investigation” appears in the estimated restoration time section of our outage map and app for so long. We’re working to get the best data based on the unique circumstances of that particular outage.
TREES & OUTAGES
Our damage assessors are reporting they’re seeing a higher number than usual of entire trees coming down due to large part to the saturated, swampy soil conditions. Whole trees have also tipped over and landed on power lines in the wind and soggy ground.
Many trees have already lost their leaves. But nearly all conifers, such as Douglas firs, retain their needles and their branches can have a greater sail effect in windy weather. Douglas firs also have shallow root systems and if the soils are saturated, they are prone to entire root plate failure – even if healthy.
A lot of trees became extremely stressed from hot weather and drought conditions this past summer. It compromised their structural integrity, and left them weakened and vulnerable. We’re still seeing the impacts of that as trees collapse or have limbs break off more easily.
FLOODING CONCERNS & NATURAL GAS METERS
If a natural gas customer’s meter becomes submerged in flood waters, they should report it by calling us at 1-888-225-5773.
If there’s the smell of natural gas, a customer should call us or 911 immediately.
After flood waters subside that have covered a gas meter, we’ll need to check the meter and the regulator before any natural gas appliance in the home or business is used.
Stay out of flooded basements. Energized wiring or electrical outlets below the water line may pose a hazard.
Never touch downed power lines because they may be energized. Call PSE at 888-225-5773 or 911 to report problems.
Report power outages: