THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. — Friday’s snow storm barreled into the Puget Sound, dumping about eight inches of snow in some areas and leaving thousands of people in South Sound without power because of falling trees and downed power lines.
The snow storm was unlike anything the Puget Sound has seen in decades and we talked to people in Tumwater and Olympia who lost power in their homes to find out how they’re surviving in these freezing temperatures.
As of 7 a.m. Sunday, more than 21,000 Puget Sound Energy customers were still without power, mostly in the Olympia and Tumwater areas, as well as the Bellingham area, where winds from the Fraser River outflow brought chilling wind gusts of up to 60 mph.
“So we woke up to no power, absolutely no power," said Vittoria, who lives in Tumwater.
Snow, wind and ice crippled Western Washington on Friday, leaving people struggling to get home safely and off the streets. And after the first round of snow storms moved out, thousands of people in Thurston County are without electricity.
“Unless you had gas stove or gas heat, you were pretty much cold,” Vittoria said.
“There’s no phone service, there’s no heat and our phones are dead because the power went off at 2 am,” said Diane who's visiting her parents in Olympia.
With more snow expected over the next several days, Thurston County’s Department of Public Works predicts more homes could lose power over the weekend. Some people we spoke to say they’re doing what they can to stay warm for now.
“It went out at 7 am this morning. Yeah so I’ve just been out and about trying to stay out of the house," said Derek, who lives in Olympia.
“We’ll just bundle up. My mother has full Alzheimer’s. My father takes care of her and so we’ll just keep throwing on blankets. It’d be very difficult to go to a room, get her out of the house, and into a car. It’s next to impossible,” Diane said.
Puget Sound Energy says the winter storm affected thousands of its customers in Thurston, Kitsap and Whatcom Counties and crews are working as quickly as they can to restore power.
“It may sound like it’s just pretty quick and it could only take a couple of hours but it could take sometimes all day just depends on what they’re dealing with, how long it takes them to get out there and how long it takes for equipment to get to them as well,” said Andrew Padula, a PSE Spokesperson.
As temperatures continue to drop below freezing overnight, PSE says people should never use the stove or over to heat their home and if they have no other options, go to the nearest emergency shelter.
PSE also asked that people exercise as much patience as possible during this very challenging time as they continue working to get the power back on.