Dangerous cold hits Whatcom County as many remain without power

As temperatures dropped in Whatcom County late Sunday night, several hundred homes remained without power.

Gusts regularly topped 50 mph throughout the day near the airport in Bellingham.

At one point on Sunday, more than 6,000 Puget Sound Energy customers were without power, many of them in, or near, Bellingham.

Tom Schreiber didn’t feel the worst of the wind, but half of his neighborhood lost power around 1 a.m. The lights were still out when the sun went down.

"It’s just frustrating that this half of the neighborhood loses power," said Schreiber, noting that the area is split onto two different grids. "Half doesn’t have power, the other half does."

That’s why Schreiber had to haul out two generators on Sunday afternoon. A small one that runs his necessities during the day, a larger one that he tries to only use when he needs to heat the house. With temperatures nearing 10 degrees as the sun went down, Schreiber knew he’d need to fire up the larger generator.

"We keep checking the PSE outage map, but we’re not making any progress."

Victor Devlin, who lives across the street, noted that he offered neighbors extra power through his generator. 

Several who live nearby have natural gas fireplaces, but Devlin said that even a fireplace will do little with the kind of cold they were bracing for.

"It’s going to be a cold night for a lot of people," he said.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office got word out on Sunday afternoon about a warming shelter being set up in Maple Falls. According to their Twitter page, the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center was opened as a shelter – though they warned people with a safe place to stay, to stay put.

If you need to contact the shelter they’re reachable at 360-599-3944.

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