Big cleanup after damaging windstorm knocks down trees, power lines in east King County

Crews with Puget Sound Energy worked night and day restoring power throughout east King County after a damaging windstorm blew through the area Wednesday night. Several people spent Thursday cleaning up the mess of down trees that ripped out the power lines.

King County Road Services closed Cedar Grove Road SE between 217th Ave SE and 228th Ave SE as crews worked to remove downed trees and power lines blocking the road. Department officials said the challenge Thursday was "getting the power lines out from under the trees, and away from the road surface."

Gerald Tracy, spokesperson for Puget Sound Energy, said this storm blew through the northeast and southeast corners of King County the hardest. It caused more than 22,100 power outages including Maple Valley.

"It’s just go, go, go when the wind is so bad like this, trees falling down," said Alexis Hall, controlling traffic at the scenes of down power lines. "All these wires on these poles were on the ground and hanging."

"You don’t want to go anywhere near those. We actually advise everybody, our customers, to remain 35 feet at least away from those down power lines. You never know if they’re charged," said Tracy.

Crews with the City of Maple Valley worked since Wednesday night cutting and removing about 10-12 trees from the streets. One of the trees fell onto Ann Settles’ driveway overnight, blocking traffic and taking down power lines with it.

"The power that goes to our house arched. So, there was a big blast of electrical energy, and whoa! I’m sitting up in bed and I’m screaming going ‘Oh, it hit the porch!’" said Settles.

The tree missed her porch this time, but Settles said a tree hit her house during the previous windstorm just a couple weeks ago. It fell through her kitchen roof.

"You open the cupboard doors and there’s a limb coming down," said Settles.

The homeowner said she is planning for the next weather system to help protect her property.

"Have an arborist come and look at these trees and decide let’s prioritize here—what trees do we keep if any, and what’s the order we maybe need to take them out?" said Settles.

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Puget Sound Energy said crews were on track to restore most, if not all power by Thursday evening.

King County Road Services said its team is working to reopen at least one lane on Cedar Grove Road for traffic flow.