Gusty winds blow into Western Washington

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by KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on March 10, 2011 at 11:28 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 8:17 AM

SEATTLE – Rain-soaked soil and strong, gusty winds combined to bring down trees and hillsides and knock out power across Western Washington Thursday, but calmer weather was expected Friday.

A High Wind Warning was in effect most of the day. Gusts of more than 50 mph were reported in North Bend, Kent and Tacoma. Latest forecast

WSDOT recorded sustained winds of 37 mph on the 520 bridge, with a wind gust of 49 mph. For the bridge to close, there must be sustained winds at 50 mph for 15 minutes. Traffic updates

Heavy rains on Wednesday saturated soil and contributed to numerous mudslides around the region Thursday. One slide nearly swept a minivan off Jovita Boulevard in Edgewood. Another came down on railroad tracks in Snohomish County, cancelling evening Sounder commuter trains.

Winds did cause one flight bound for Sea-Tac Airport to be diverted to Portland, said airport spokesman Perry Cooper. Some others were forced to abort their initial landings and take a second approach.

Rain showers are expected to continue Thursday night around the Puget Sound. A Flood Watch is posted for Thurston, Lewis and Grays Harbor counties, while a Flood Warning is in effect for the Skokomish River at Bucoda.

Expect partial clearing with only a slight chance of showers Friday with highs in the low 50's, KING 5 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Renner said. But, more rain is expected overnight Friday or early Saturday.

Heavy rain showers are moving across the Cascades, where a Winter Storm Watch is in effect for elevations above 3,500 feet. About 9-18 inches of snow could fall.

Several thousand power outages were reported by utilities across the region. Utility information

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