JANUARY 6, 1997
Snow and rain fall, winds blow, power goes
by Jeff Switzer
Of the 125,000 Puget Power customers in North King County, 26,235 were without power at the height of the storm New Year's Day, a culmination of Mother Nature's best intentions to bring us a white Christmas and wash away our holiday blues.
"North King County did a lot better than other areas," said Allen Mikita, business manager for Puget Power's North King County branch.
Overall, 400,000 customers were affected from Olympia to Vashon Island and between as a result of the three-wave storm. On Dec. 27, 248,000 customers were out. That number was brought down to 56,000 before the second wave hit, leaving 138,000 without electricity on Dec. 29. By Dec. 31, only 29,000 were without power, but that jumped to 113,000 with the New Year's Eve windstorm.
"You never know how bad it's going to be," said Mikita. "Every storm is different."
Mikita said the snow, rain, ice, wind, falling trees, breaking branches, and soggy ground all added up to seven days of work to get everything under control.
"There were lots of devastated areas blocked by trees across roads," he said. "Company-wide, South King County, Kitsap, and Olympia had it much worse than we did."