Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Dec. 8, 2021

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Winds knock out power to over 5,000 in Clark County

Bomb cyclone also brings heavy rain

By , Columbian staff writer

As a bomb cyclone brought whipping winds and heavy rains Sunday and Monday through Clark County, more than 5,000 residents lost power, according to Clark Public Utilities.

Utility spokesman Dameon Pesanti said crews were kept busy Sunday as they responded to 44 outages through early Monday morning that cut off power for 5,725 customers. The outages were mostly concentrated in the Ridgefield, La Center and Chelatchie Prairie areas, in the north and northeastern parts of the county, he said.

The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning Sunday for Vancouver, Salmon Creek and parts of northern Clark County.

The storm began around 1 p.m. Sunday, and crews wrapped up repairing the damage to equipment around 6:30 a.m. Monday, Pesanti said.

Typically, about half of all outages at the utility are caused by fallen trees or branches, he said, and the latest wind storm was no exception.

In Vancouver, wind gusts reached 35 mph shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Gusts were also between 20 and 30 mph Monday morning. When wind gusts are near 30 mph, Pesanti said outages typically increase.

The winds also knocked down a heat lamp Monday morning in a barn in Woodland, sparking a fire with three goats trapped inside. Fire crews freed the animals, but the barn was a total loss, according to Clark Cowlitz Fire Rescue.

Clark County Public Works crews were also “extremely busy” over the weekend and Monday, clearing downed trees and unclogging storm drains, according to spokeswoman Magan Reed.

Road crews spent the majority of their time in the Salmon Creek and Daybreak areas. Fallen trees and large limbs also closed some streets in Washougal until crews could clear the debris. However, she said no significant damage was reported to the county.

Reed said residents can help the department keep up with demand during storms if they’re able to safely clear leaves away from any drains near their properties. People can also report downed trees, limbs or flooded streets on the “report a road concern” feature on the county’s website.

Pesanti said this is a good time to remind people to keep an outage kit in their homes, stocked with flashlights, batteries and other equipment.

“Preparing for three days without power is always a good safety practice,” he said.

The storm brought the lowest air pressure ever recorded off the Washington Coast, according to the Weather Service.

It slammed the entire West Coast on Sunday, from Southern California to British Columbia. In Preston, east of Seattle, two people died when a tree fell on their car. Around 150,000 people in the Puget Sound area lost power, according to The Associated Press.