GOLD BAR, Wash. – Several community members stepped up to help families surviving the winter cold near Stevens Pass who are without electricity. Heavy snowstorms knocked out power for thousands of residents in King and Snohomish counties.
For days, people tried to stay warm in the freezing temperatures. Many of them were stuck in the mountains because U.S. Highway 2 was shut down for miles due to down trees and power lines. Braving the elements, their fellow neighbors formed a convoy to show them they weren’t forgotten.
“God bless them all. I’ll tell you what, it’s been a long four to five days,” said one Skykomish resident.
“I’ve been up here all my life. This is the worst power outage I’ve ever seen,” said one Baring resident.
“Small town life, it’s what we do,” said Cheryl Peterson, convoy organizer. “It takes the average person to take care of their neighbors. It’s a big thing. It’s the Sky Valley, that’s what we are.”
Community members banded together, collecting and delivering donations to neighborhoods hit hardest by the snowfall.
“I hope the power comes on here soon because this is ridiculous,” said one Baring resident.
Snohomish County Public Utilities District and Puget Sound Energy are getting help from outside contractors to restore power. Crews said, unfortunately, it’s not an easy fix.
“Right after we put it up, trees come down and bring down everything. We’ve spent all night putting wire up and fixing poles and then we come back to energize it and trees have come back down through it again," said Dean Davis with Potelco Inc.
Davis said his crews were contracted to help with the workload. He explained the weather became frustrating for crews who have been working all hours of the day and night. With the high winds in the forecast, the fear is more trees and limbs could come down.
“We want to keep our workers safe, try to keep the public safe, but we want to get these people back in power. They’re cold and they’re suffering,” said Davis.
Families loaded up on food, water, firewood and fuel to help them make it through another storm.
“We’ll probably be up here for another two days, day or two. Our son’s down the mountain safe and sound with his grandpa. We haven’t seen him since Sunday,” said one woman who lives in Skykomish.
Washington State Emergency Management Division was also in the impacted communities offering voluntary evacuations. The governor said he is in communication with area mayors and local leaders to see what the needs are and provide resources.