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Crews get ready to deal with possible power outages as storm heads into area

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SEATTLE -- With more than an inch of rain expected this weekend in some spots, it’s always a good idea to check out storm drains. But more importantly, get ready for possible power outages on Saturday from strong winds.

It’s the calm before the storm.

Friday’s gentle breeze is forecasted to escalate into high winds by late Saturday morning.

“I didn’t know there was a going to be a windstorm,” West Seattle resident Lisa Triesch said.

But Seattle City Light is ready.

“We will be preparing for the potential for power outages and have crews ready to respond,” Seattle City Light spokesman Scott Thomsen said.

With a possible windstorm blowing through early in the season, crews are worried about heavier trees losing branches and damaging power lines.

“You can see the branches are full of leaves, those leaves will catch the wind so it creates what is called the sail effect and the tree is then going to move much further.
Couple that with a dry summer, dead branches falling off could also affect power lines.

“You are never going to totally eliminate those type of conflicts and so we need people to be ready for that and hope they will be patient with us,” Thomsen said.

Roofing companies have that same request.

“All roofing companies get overwhelmed with calls; you basically stop answering the phones,” Redmond Roofing owner Bob Hernacki said.

It’s common for frantic customers to call right before a storm.

“It will blow shingles off roofs, it will create a lot of damage,” Hernacki said,
if your roof is more than 15 years old or shows signs of wear.

Experts say don’t procrastinate.

“You don’t want to cry wolf and say everybody is in danger of their ceiling caving, but it can happen; usually, it’s a small thing that can be fixed,” Hernacki said.

Seattle City Light says they are always in the process of cutting back trees and brush from power lines. They have cleared 270 miles of power lines from vegetation so far, it said.

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