Peninsula: Strong winds return, especially pound Sequim area
Port Angeles, WA - Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the Sequim-Dungeness Valley on Thursday as winds gusting to near hurricane levels blew down trees and power lines, prompted power outages and kept government workers scurrying to clean up the mess.
More winds like Thursdays -- and ones that blasted through the area last week -- could return Saturday, the National Weather Service forecast Thursday night.
Winds hit the area early Thursday morning, registering up to 70 mph in Dungeness, said Carl Cerniglia, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service station in Seattle. Hurricane winds are 74 mph or stronger.
By early afternoon, moderately heavy rain and cold air added to the mix.
Gusty winds were less severe elsewhere on the North Olympic Peninsula.
The peak gust for Thursday reported at the Jefferson County Courthouse was 30 mph -- far less than the Dungeness reading, but still enough to blow down branches and whip up waves in Port Townsend Bay.
A period of strong winds in Port Angeles likewise did slight damage, including some on the Peninsula College campus.
A worker repairing screening around the tennis courts said an hour's worth of wind mayhem Thursday will require three days of repairs around the campus.
Wind gusts of up to 27 mph were reported at the Hood Canal Bridge about 10 p.m. Thursday.
The National Weather Service's forecasts for the Strait of Juan de Fuca today call for rain with low temperatures in the lower 40s and winds diminishing to 25 mph.
But Saturday's forecast calls for winds to pick up again, gusting to 60 mph at the Strait entrances. Highs for Saturday are expected to be in the mid-40s; lows in the upper 30s.
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