Power restored to most of affected areas of county; American Camp flagpole destroyed

High winds knocked down 90-foot garrison flagpole at American Camp, late Nov. 18.
High winds knocked down 90-foot garrison flagpole at American Camp, late Nov. 18. 'The pole had been returned to working order at great expense last summer after more than a year,' National Park chief of interpretation Mike Vouri said.
— image credit: San Juan Island National Historical Park

OPALCO reported that high winds knocked out power throughout the county Wednesday evening, including the west side of Shaw Island, Crane Island, various areas of San Juan Island, including Pear Point, Jensen Bay, Egg Lake area, Sheffer Stretch and Beaverton Valley.

At 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, OPALCO reported outages in Eastsound and in the Dolphin Bay area.

Another casualty: The 90-foot garrison flagpole at American Camp, which reported gusts of at least 70 mph. "The pole had been returned

to working order at great expense last summer after more than a year," National Park chief of interpretation Mike Vouri said.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning for today, remaining in effect until midnight. Southerly winds will continue to ease up a bit this morning then begin to increase again late today, the National Weather Service reported. Winds will peak during the evening hours with sustained speeds of 25 to 40 mph and gusts as high as 60 mph. Winds will ease once again later tonight.

A high-wind warning means that a hazardous wind event is imminent or occurring. High winds can topple trees, down power lines, and destroy property.

OPALCO crews worked through the night to restore power to affected areas of the islands. As of 3:30 a.m., OPALCO expected power to be restored on the west side of San Juan Island by mid-morning today. Power was restored on Shaw and Crane islands with the exception of Neck Point. Power was restored on Orcas Island with the exception of the Urner Street area.

"Before calling to report an outage, please check your fuses or circuit breakers at the electrical panel and check with neighbors to see if their power is out," OPALCO's Web site reports. "To report an outage, please call 376-3599. After hours, outage calls are answered by the Sheriff’s Dispatch Center and OPALCO crews alerted.

Information and updates on outages are posted

ON THE OPALCO WEB SITE and at 376-3550.

Ferry service was reportedly restored and back on schedule this morning. High winds and heavy seas forced the cancellation of the 7:25 p.m. Anacortes-to-Lopez run Nov. 18, as well as service between Port Townsend and Keystone. GET REGULAR FERRY SERVICE BULLETINS HERE.


THE TOWN AND COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT posted the following information, outlining what you can do to prepare for windstorms.

— Have a disaster plan; and assemble a disaster supplies kit (include several flashlights, battery powered radio, extra batteries and a wind-up clock).

— Anchor outdoor objects that can blow away.

— Fill vehicles with gas in case the gas stations lose power.

— Register life-sustaining equipment with your utility.

— Consider buying a small generator to power electrically powered life-sustaining equipment.

— When installing generators, follow the manufacturer's instructions and have it inspected by the utility company and state electrical inspector.

— Have a corded telephone available. Cordless phones do not work when the power is out.

— Post the phone number of the "New Construction, Repairs and Power Outage" listing of your local utility.

— Learn how to open your electric garage door using the manual override.

— Make sure you have an alternate heat source and fuel supply.

— Do not drive or go outside in high winds. Avoid windows.

— Stay far away from downed power lines.

— Report the outage to your local utility, otherwise, use the phone for emergencies only.

— If you are the only one without power, check your fuse box or circuit breaker panel. Turn off large appliances before replacing fuses or resetting circuits.

— If power is out in the neighborhood, disconnect all electrical heaters and appliances to reduce the initial demand and protect motors from possible low voltage damage.

— Connect lights and appliances directly to a generator, not to an existing electrical system.

— If you leave home, turn off or unplug heat producing

— Unplug computers and other voltage sensitive equipment to protect them from power surges.

— Conserve water, especially if you are on a well.

— Keep doors, windows and draperies closed to retain heat.

— Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. If doors remain closed, a fully loaded freezer can keep foods frozen for two days.

— Be extremely careful of fire hazards caused by candles or other flammable sources.

— When using kerosene heaters, gas lanterns or stoves indoors, maintain ventilation to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes.

— Do not use charcoal indoors.

— Leave on light switch on to alert you when the power is restored.

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