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Power out for more than three hours in San Juan County; reportedly caused by PSE line on mainland

The San Juan Islands lost power for more than three hours Friday after a Puget Sound Electric power line on the mainland went out, according to reports on KOMO news radio. The line feeds into a BPA station that sends electricity to the San Juan Islands.

Power went out about 9:30 a.m. and was being restored by about 12:30 p.m. Power was still out in Olga at 1:45 p.m., The Islands' Sounder reported.

The outage came as a strong storm moved into the Pacific Northwest, bringing heavy rain and snow to some elevations. Windy conditions were expected to cause power outages and tree damage.

Wind blew a tree over onto a power line on Roche Harbor Road at Lillan Lane, near Rouleau Road, Friday morning. The incident coincided with the countywide power outage, but was not the cause. OPALCO crews removed the tree from the power line and worked to secure a nearby power pole that was leaning over because of the weight of the tree on the lines.

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning, to remain in effect until 9 p.m. Friday.

"A strong westerly surge of wind will occur behind the front later this afternoon and evening. The wind direction will shift from southeasterly to westerly bringing the strongest winds to the strait and areas near Whidbey Island," the National Weather Service reported.

"Expect the potentially damaging winds of 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph to subside late this evening. The very strong winds could result in some power outages across portions of Western Washington due to power lines being damaged by tree limbs. Some of the region's trees have begun to leaf out already, which could add to the potential for wind damage to occur. Rain-soaked ground could allow trees to easily topple or become uprooted.

"A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage."

The National Weather Service predicted enough snow would fall to create dangerous travel through the major mountain passes like Snoqualmie, and enough rain to cause localized flooding in outlying areas.

"Up to 18 inches of snow will bury the Cascades by Saturday morning, making it feel more like Christmas weekend than Easter weekend. A fresh foot of snow will cover the Sierra and portions of the northern Rockies," the National Weather Service reported.

Some low-lying and poor drainage areas may be dealing with minor flooding with the heaviest rain. Up to 2-3 inches were expected to soak some coastal areas.

Sporadic power outages and tree damage can occur with the strong winds pounding the region. The highest gusts of up to 75 mph will likely occur along the coast.

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