TUMBLEWEED STUCK FAST

TUMBLEWEED STUCK FAST — Powerful winds blow in a free range dusting of snow from SR 241 in the Rattlesnake Hills on Thanksgiving eve, right in time to create a scenic holiday landscape to accompany the turkey day festivities and bountiful buffet tables.

SUNNYSIDE — Clean-up continues around town as a result of damage caused by the Thanksgiving storm that hit the Lower Valley Wednesday. The high winds, some of which were clocked at 53 mph, created power outages across the community just as families were settling in Wednesday evening for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“The peak outage times were between 2 and 6 p.m. on Nov. 27 and including 158 separate incidents. This affected roughly 5,000 customers,” Pacific Power media spokesman Tom Gauntt reported.

The wind speeds were reported as high as 53 mph in Sunnyside by the National Weather Station in Pendleton, Ore, who tracked similar wind speeds as the first winter storm hit the region.

City Manager Martin Casey was extremely grateful for PacifiCorp’s essential service to the community.

“The power crews worked very hard despite the high winds to get the customers powers restored as quickly as possible,” Casey said.

The south side of Sunnyside was blacked out most of the evening as a result of multiple transformer and pole fires wreaked havoc throughout the area.

There were straggler outages going into the Thursday, Nov. 28, Gauntt added. “That could have delayed some of the turkey cooking,” he noted.

Local repair operations reported that they had about 40 crew (employees and contractors) at work during the peak of the restoration.

Within the city, water crews kept a close watch on the water tower on Skyline Avenue, which is undergoing resealing as part of tower reconditioning project, Casey reported.

When the power went out on Harrison Hill, water crews switched to generators to keep the interior at even temperature to ensure the sealant dried properly, Casey explained.

There were few reports of tree damage, but some limbs were lost on trees in city parks. A tree near Yakima Federal Savings and Loan Bank was downed but caused no other damage.

“Except for the power outages, the damage within the city was minimal,” Casey remarked.

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at jhart@sunnysidesun.com

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