High winds hit Clark County

outages affect about 1,000; power restored quickly

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

Published:

Updated: December 17, 2012, 6:11 PM

 

Strong winds and rain caused a handful of downed wires and traffic hazards overnight Sunday and into Monday but nothing out of the ordinary, officials said.

As of 7 a.m., about 74 customers were still without power in the Shumway neighborhood of west Vancouver, according to Clark Public Utilities.

Rick Thompson, construction maintenance superintendent for Clark Public Utilities, said the outage was caused when a tree fell onto a power line and broke a power pole. Several transformers also hit the ground, requiring a hazardous materials team to be called to clean up an oil spill. Thompson said he was called to the scene around 1 a.m. and was still on scene after 8 a.m.

Thompson said he heard there were a few other outages through the night, but things could have been worse.

Utility spokeswoman Erica Erland said there were seven total outages overnight, causing about 1,000 households and businesses to lose power. Erland said the largest outage affected 395 customers from 1:30 to 3 a.m. in the Washougal area. Power was restored to most people before they woke up, she said.

A mudslide on BNSF Railway tracks near Nisqually delayed 13 freight trains on Monday and will disrupt Portland-Seattle Amtrak service through at least Wednesday.

Mud, trees and rocks slid onto the rails at 1:25 a.m., said Gus Melonas, a railroad spokesman. About 30 feet of the rail line was covered with debris up to three feet deep. Amtrak passengers will be bused between stations until the line is reopened to passenger trains.

Vancouver Public Works spokeswoman Loretta Callahan said there were no major issues on city streets. Things were also pretty quiet in the county, said Jeff Mize, Clark County Public Works spokesman.