A wind storm that whipped through the island over the weekend saw several tree limbs and trees fall over, including this one that blocked Vashon Highway Southwest, between Cemetery Road and SW 204th Street, in both directions. (Martin Halliwell Photo)

A wind storm that whipped through the island over the weekend saw several tree limbs and trees fall over, including this one that blocked Vashon Highway Southwest, between Cemetery Road and SW 204th Street, in both directions. (Martin Halliwell Photo)

Wind storm knocks out power, downs trees

The windy weather over the weekend meant parts of the island were without power for several hours.

According to Puget Sound Energy spokesman Andrew Padula, the outages began around 7 a.m. on Feb. 23 and peaked with 3,600 outages at 9 a.m. The outages were all weather-related, due to trees or tree limbs hitting power lines, he said.

“Any time any of our customers are impacted, it’s always an issue for us and it’s a priority for us to get everyone back on,” Padula said. “It looks like, based on the numbers, this was a large impact for Vashon Island and we will work as quickly and as safely as we can to get everyone back up.”

Along with the outage came some downed trees, including one that blocked Vashon Highway S.W., between Cemetery Road and SW 204th Street, in both directions.

Islander Martin Halliwell was among those who saw the massive trunk uprooted from its location on the edge of the road in front of The Country Store and Farm. He was out and about to take pictures and decided to snap one of the trees.

“Fortunately, no one got crushed,” Halliwell said.

The maintenance workers told him the large tree likely came down not only because of high winds but due to saturated soil and root rot.

“It was just time’s up, sadly, for a big tree,” Halliwell said.

He believes the tree’s situation was not helped by the fact that county personnel do not spend enough time caring for the trees on this rural island.

“There are a lot of widowmakers out there that are just ready to fall. It’s just a matter of time,” Halliwell said.

Add to that the fact that January saw a significant amount of precipitation on the island, he said, and the recipe is made for a large tree to come down.

“The perfect storm, as they say,” Halliwell said.

Power was out at his residence, north of Vashon Community Care, on Sunday from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The lights had flickered once or twice before it went out, so I thought, ‘I should grind some beans,’” Halliwell said. “You got to set your priorities straight when you see that flash.”

All in all, he said the outage didn’t feel so bad, compared to others, which have lasted days or weeks.

“We’re pretty fortunate just to have it out for several hours,” Halliwell said. “I don’t have anything negative to say. I just have nothing but praise for the utility workers.”


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