Power outages create challenges over weekend

POULSBO — Little Norway bent but refused to break as its residents weathered Saturday’s high winds and for the most part, came out unscathed.

The Poulsbo Inn and Chevron gas station on State Route 305 experienced a flood of business as traffic backed up in both directions throughout the day.

“It was chaotic around here,” said Poulsbo Inn desk clerk Debbie Hoit Monday afternoon.

Half of the 71-room hotel lost power and affected guests were shuffled into those that still had it, Hoit said.

“All over it was busy and we had to turn several people away,” she said.

Other than running out of supreme gas early in the day, Chevron employees handled the rising tide of customers in stride, said store manager Elizabeth Allen.

The station experienced a temporary power outage shortly after midnight, but once it was restored, the power was constant, Allen said.

“I think we were the only station that was open and we had a line around the corner,” she said. “We really had our roller skates on.”

By 6 p.m. Feb. 4, the lines weren’t around the corner, but all of the pumps were in use, she said.

“We sold a bunch of coffee and other things,” Allen said. “People were just grateful we were open.”

The hodge podge of power outages caused several traffic backups throughout the city as some lights were working while others weren’t, said Poulsbo Police Sgt. Bill Playter.

Backups on State Route 305 were caused by the light being out at the Bond Road/SR 305 intersection, Playter said, but congestion downtown could be attributed to increased traffic volumes.

“For the most part, people did a good job of obeying four-way stops where lights were out,” Playter said, noting that it wasn’t deemed necessary to call additional officers for traffic control.

City public works crews were on-call throughout the weekend and used a combination of pumps and generators to keep the sewer system going, said assistant public works superintendent Dan Wilson.

“It was interesting but we did fine,” Wilson said. “We had four guys out the whole weekend.”

Other than a few trees falling across roads and having to travel to Silverdale to get fuel for generators, the city experienced very few problems, he said.

“Everything worked fine and we were able to keep things going,” Wilson said.

In the northwest end of town, Wal-Mart lost power at about 1 a.m. Saturday morning, but was back in operation by midmorning, said store manager Doug Ayerst.

“Once the generator arrived, we were able to reopen and get back to full operation,” Ayerst said.

Wal-Mart designs its stores with a generator capability in case of power outages, Ayerst said.

“We probably only used a quarter of its power during store operations,” Ayerst said.

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