Widespread power outages in W Washington

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Puget Sound Energy is using three helicopters Friday to check its transmission lines as crews repair damage from Thursday's ice storm in Western Washington.

Utility spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt says it had about 254,000 customers out of service at mid-day, mostly in King, Pierce and Thurston counties -- the areas around Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia.

At the worst of the ice storm, PSE had about 280,000 outages. Betancourt says 100 repair crews are out Friday, and there'll be 200 Saturday with help from out of town. But it could take into the weekend or later to get the power back on for everyone.

A spokesman at the state emergency operations center, Rob Harper, says the total number of outages Friday for all utilities was close to 300,000.