Utilities across the region worked feverishly to restore lights and heat, but warned that hundreds of thousands of homes in Seattle and its suburbs may remain dark into Saturday. Puget Sound Energy warned of delays of up to five days.
"As storm winds died down this morning, government agencies and individuals began to grapple with the damage and chaos from a storm that has killed at least four people..
In Seattle, hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage mixed with rainwater was flushed into Puget Sound after two critical parts of King County’s wastewater system were damaged and overwhelmed by flood runoff.
Major roads, including the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and Hood Canal Bridge reopened after periodic closures.
The storm caused an unusual amount of damage the region’s power infrastructure. Dozens of transmission lines — the large power lines that transfer power from dams and other sources to neighborhood substations — were knocked down in the storm, said Dorothy Bracken, a spokeswoman for Puget Sound Energy.
PSE had dispatched a helicopter to pinpoint where trees had cut the transmission lines. PSE said it needed to assess those failures before targeting "feeder" lines that flow out from substations to neighborhoods.
Seattle City Light, which had 110,000 homes still in the dark this afternoon said a typical storm downs two or three feeder lines. Last night’s storm cut 65; 49 were still not working this afternoon, said spokesman Peter Clarke.
Clarke said City Light expected 100,000 homes – about one-third of the utility’s residential customers – to still be without power by midnight tonight, and about 50,000 midnight on Saturday.
"There will be people without power tonight and when we get down to small neighborhoods there may be some of those that are out for more than 24 hours, " Clarke said.
PSE reported 700,000 customers – two thirds of its customer base — without power, most of them in King County, said Bracken. In addition to most Eastside cities, Bracken said "all of Whidbey Island is without power."