SEATTLE – High winds knocked out power Saturday to tens of thousands of electricity customers in Western Washington, and crews worked to get them back on line for residents hoping to watch the Seattle Seahawks playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.
Puget Sound Energy reported more than 500 outages affecting nearly 40,000 customers Saturday morning, and said its crews were "in Beast Mode" working to restore it -- a reference to the bruising style of running back Marshawn Lynch.
CenturyLink Field, where the game was being played, was not affected by the outages. But some 33,000 customers in the area remained without power at game time, many of them on the Kitsap Peninsula west of Seattle.
By halftime the figure was back up to 40,000. On its Twitter feed, Puget Sound Energy urged businesses showing the game on TV to let customers know where they could watch it.
Seattle City Light said that at one point early Saturday, it had 28,000 customers without electricity, but it managed to restore 20,000 of them within a few hours. Nevertheless, more heavy rain, winds and hail swept through early Saturday afternoon, cutting power to thousands more.
The utilities advised people without power for the 1:30 p.m. PST game to find someplace else to watch it, such as the big screen at the Seattle Central Library.
Wind gusts in the region reached more than 50 mph, the National Weather Service reported. Crystal Mountain ski resort near Mount Rainier shut down its upper chair lifts.
Thousands of people lost power in the Portland, Ore., area as well.