Rain, wind on the way

Power outages likely during storm

— Nearly another inch of rain and high winds are on the way.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a series of strong storms will begin today.

The Lower Yakima Valley is predicted to receive nearly an inch of rain through Saturday, weather officials said.

On top of that, wind gusts will reach peaks of more than 30 mph by Saturday, officials said. Coastal areas could see winds as high as 80 mph.

The Sunnyside area received record precipitation Sunday and early Monday.

Officials said 1.68 inches of rain fell, setting a local record for rainfall in a 24-hour period.

More precipitation on the way means the area will likely set the local record for most rainfall during the month of October.

The record currently stands at 2.21 inches.

The storm flooded some areas of the city and damaged a hillside on Columbia Avenue.

Nearly 1,200 Pacific Power customers were without electricity during Sunday’s storm.

The outage lasted as long as 11 hours in the Outlook area.

Sunday’s storm also caused three utility pole fires.

Pacific Power officials encourage the area to prepare for possible outages through Saturday during the storm system on the way.

“Storms like this one can cause significant damage to the electrical grid,” Vice President of Operations Curtis Mansfield said. “One way we minimize interruptions to electric service despite the storms is by paying close attention to trees near power lines.”

In 2016, the utility pruned 363,000 trees on 5,100 miles of lines investing more than $25 million to remove hazards and make the lines more resilient.

“Based on experience, we’ve anticipated and prepared for this weather and the outages that could occur by staging crews and equipment so we are able to deploy them where they are needed when the time comes,” Mansfield said.

When outages occur, Pacific Power officials claim their phone system can handle as many as 20,000 outage calls per hour.

“We are ready to help,” utility spokeswoman Barb Coughlin said.



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