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High winds sweep North Kitsap; Hood Canal Bridge reopens to traffic
High winds wreaked havoc in North Kitsap Tuesday afternoon.
Winds picked up about 1 p.m., causing power outages from Poulsbo to Kingston and across Bainbridge Island.
High winds also forced the closure of the Hood Canal Bridge at about 1 p.m., causing long lines of traffic. It reopened to traffic about 3:30 p.m., according to a statement from the Washington State Department of Transportation.
Power was restored to most of North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island by the late afternoon but some scattered outages remained, Puget Sound Energy spokeswoman Dorothy Bracken said. Bracken said the company expected to have power restored to all customers Tuesday night.
Between 10,000 and 20,000 Puget Sound Energy customers lost electricity during the height of Tuesday's outages. Kingston and Bainbridge Island were the hardest hit areas, Bracken said.
At its most fierce, gusts reached 45 mph, but sustained winds will hold between 20 mph and 30 mph, said Johnny Burg, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Seattle. A wind advisory for the Puget Sound region remained in effect until 6 p.m.
Power was flickering at North Kitsap School District offices, as well as at some of the schools, spokeswoman Robyn Chastain said.
After school activities at Poulsbo Middle School were canceled for Tuesday.
Because there were so many downed trees blocking roadways, some school buses had to find alternate routes, Chastain said.
The weather also affected Kingston High School's after school sports. All outdoor practices were canceled, while the baseball, soccer, track and girls tennis teams all practiced indoors. Kingston's golf match against Gig Harbor also was canceled, according to Dan Novick, Kingston's athletic director. The school's Winter Sports Awards ceremony, slated for tonight, has been postponed for a later date.
Indianola resident Rohn Rutledge said about eight large trees have fallen in his neighborhood, which has been without power for a couple hours.
Rutledge, who owns the Main Street Ale House in Kingston, sent his employees home after the business lost power early Tuesday afternoon. Several other businesses also closed because of the power outage, he said.
"It's much worse than in Poulsbo. We're getting the brunt of it," Rutledge said. "This is the worst I've seen in 13 years since I moved here from Seattle. "
Staff photos by Tad Sooter. Andrew Binion of the Central Kitsap Reporter contributed to this report.