EVERETT, Wash. – Thousands of Snohomish County Public Utility District customers were affected by snowfall Sunday evening and Monday morning. A PUD spokesperson said many outages were caused by fallen trees that damaged power lines.
Aaron Swaney, representative with PUD, said about 25,000 customers were restored power within 24 hours. He said most of the outages occurred in Everett.
Swaney also mentioned the vast majority of outages remain east of Highway 2, in communities like Snohomish, Monroe, Sultan and Index.
“We have nearly 30 crews all over the county and they will be working through the night to try and get the rest of our customers restored,” said Swaney.
City of Everett Department of Public Works crews worked 12-hour shifts for snow removal. Spokesperson Kathleen Baxter said the department also received multiple calls about fallen trees across the city.
“The snow was a lot heavier and wetter than maybe last year’s snow. And so that’s actually causing a bit more trees to fall,” said Baxter.
One of the many trees that fell was an old Willow that sat in the front yard of the Coats residence.
“We used to always have picnics under this tree when we were little. We had a little picnic blanket,” said Maija Coats.
“They have loved this tree. It’s been a part of their family—climbing in the tree, hammocks in the summer,” said Coats’ grandmother, Nancy Sutherland.
The family said the tree was a staple in the neighborhood for at least 100 years.
“Whenever people give directions, they’re like ‘Two houses past the willow tree.’ Or if they’re talking about our house, ‘It’s the house with the willow tree,’” said Coats.
“While they’re cutting, we’re going to try to grab some of the rounds because my dad is really good with wood so he wants to keep some of it,” said Coat’s sister Hillary.
While tree removal companies help clear the trees, public works crews plowed the roads. Baxter said snow removal continued as planned without any major issues.
“We have a plan and we work it, but that doesn’t mean every road is completely free of anything slippery. We have priority routes that we keep clear and the secondary routes, we work on those next,” said Baxter.
The Public Works’ spokesperson mentioned ice is a concern and they are monitoring another possible snowfall later in the week.
“We caution people about driving in the freezing temperatures and how the roads might be slick. We’re going to sanding and salting. Sand doesn’t necessarily melt anything, but the salt will help and the sand gives you some traction,” said Baxter.
Drivers like Michael Glover shoveled their driveway before getting behind the wheel.
“I’m going to be cautious. I mean, I’m definitely going to drive slower, watch out for black ice patches and stick to main roads where people are. No back roads or anything,” said Glover.
Public Works is reminding drivers to be courteous while sharing the roads with plow trucks.
“When you see a snowplow, give us a little room. It’s a big vehicle a lot of stuff going on. So, if you just give us a little bit more space, that will keep it safer for everybody,” said Baxter.
Baxter is also reminding residents to make sure their cars and garbage cans are out of the road so plow trucks can clear paths more efficiently.
While power gets restored throughout Snohomish County, officials are urging people to stay at least 30 feet away from fallen power lines as they still could be live and dangerous. Residents are also advised to never use gas stoves or grills inside for a heating source.
Swaney said PUD is concerned about the forecast for Tuesday night, with the possibility of wind causing more outages.
“We plan for our crews to get some much-needed rest tomorrow, so they’re rested going into Wednesday,” said Swaney.
Anyone experiencing a power outage in Snohomish County is encouraged to report it to PUD’s Outage Reporting Line at 425-783-1001. Outages can also be reported online.