SEATTLE – Fierce wind across western Washington and Oregon on Saturday cut power to homes and businesses, forced rail service and a major bridge to close, and was blamed for at least one death, authorities said.
The wind raced through Seattle at 45 mph, with gusts higher than 50 mph, the National Weather Service said. Gusts of more than 60 mph were recorded on the Olympic Peninsula, west of the city.
Power was out for at least 160,000 customers in Washington and may not be restored for several days in the hardest hit areas, Puget Sound Energy spokeswoman Lynn Carlson said.
About 32,000 people lost power in Oregon, though crews had reduced the number to about 18,000 by early afternoon, Portland General Electric said.
Ingrid J. Davis, 38, died when a tree fell on her car, the Washington State Patrol said. There were no immediate reports of other deaths or injuries.
A ferry run connecting the Olympic Peninsula to an island in Puget Sound was shut down because of choppy waters. And Seattle's floating bridge, one of two routes linking the city with its eastern suburbs, was closed in both directions as waves pounded the span.
The bridge last closed in a storm in March 1999, Transportation Department spokeswoman Melanie Coon said.
A storm-related mudslide prompted a 48-hour shutdown of passenger rail service between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The closure affected Amtrak and commuter train service, said Gus Melonas, a spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. Bus service was being arranged.