Strong winds whip across Whatcom County, with gusts up to 60 mph expected

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Winds were getting stronger by the hour Thursday  in Bellingham, with the National Weather Service forecasting wind gusts of up to 60 mph Thursday night.

The high winds tossed around trash at a Bellingham recycling plant and students at Bellingham Technical College next door got more than they bargained for.

"Lots and lots of fish going upstream and coming into our fish hatchery," instructor Earl Steele said.

The gloomy weather is driving large schools of salmon back to their native rivers, overwhelming students collecting eggs from the salmon. Steele says the fish like to travel in bad weather because of  high waters.

In neighborhoods, a different problem developed as people faced up to 45 mph wind gusts Thursday afternoon.

"It's a violent kind of wind, it's bone chilling," Whatcom County resident Jaime Hadrath said.

"Power is a big thing up here. I don't know why we have issues with power, it seems to be frequent," Kenneth Tarr said.

Tarr hasn't lost power yet but he says it's a matter of time.

"You know, the people who don't have generators, they end up losing their food," Tarr said.

The last time winds blew down power lines in his neighborhood, Tarr says, his neighbors struggled in the cold for for four days.

"That's why I am here getting things in case we don't have power so we have heat," Tarr said

He left a hardware store stocked with essentials. He was prepared for anything the wind might bring.