Christmas Day wind storm and power outages

Monday, December 26, 2011

Two downed lines on 15th NE
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Area residents preparing for Christmas Day were startled when a mild wind storm with gusty winds was followed by flickering lights and a power outage just before noon on December 25, 2011.

In a wind storm that moved from south to north, bringing down branches and trees, over 17,000 Seattle City Light customers in King County lost power. Those in south King county had shorter outages, from one to five hours, but Shoreline and Lake Forest Park residents were in for a longer siege.

In a scene more reminiscent of past Thanksgiving days, Christmas dinner plans were revised, scrapped, postponed, and transferred to homes with power. Church services were postponed.  Morning services had some dramatic moments. One minister had just proclaimed from the pulpit that he was going to do something spectacular - when the power went out.  

At the worst of the outages, 18,000 customers were without power. By 4 pm, that number was down to 4,000, most in Shoreline.

Power outage in the Ridgecrest Neighborhood Christmas Day December 25th about 11:45am.
Taping off the area to keep pedestrians from harm
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Police block the lane so crews can work.
15th NE between NE 163rd and 165th.
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

In a major line on 15th NE by Hamlin Park, damaged by tree limbs, police and fire fighters had to divert traffic while lines were restored. The work was done by about 6 pm, about an hour after the surrounding area had power restored.

Tree fall. Photo by Carl Dinse.

A tree came down on this home in north Shoreline.  Most of the damage is in the rear.  Owners were not home at the time, so no one was hurt.

By 7pm the total number of county outages was 4,000, with most still in Shoreline.

9:30pm City Light map of most power outages

On this map, captured at 9:30pm, the major power outages are shown in red, but there were four other places with small outages:
  • 15th NW south of Richmond Beach Road - 1am 12-26
  • Firlands Way at N 196th - 2am 12-26
  • About 28th NE and NE 179th Ct - 1am 12-26
  • Beach Drive NE at about NE 159th

11:15pm map of City Light power outages.

By 11:15pm, there are 13 separate outages affecting 502 customers, most all in the Meridian Park neighborhood.

For future power outages, call or check online:


Anonymous,  December 26, 2011 at 9:19 AM  

Exactly what was mild about wind? Gusts were 50 MPH, down at Richmond Beach & in Shoreview Park there were huge gusts and it was howling. The storm was short, but in no way was it mild, it was as strong as gusts I've walked through on the Washington Coast during winter storm watches.

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