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Wind chart
A color-coded graphic shows the low-pressure center of the storm off the coast of Washington and Oregon at 1 p.m. PT. (Credit: National Weather Service)

The rains and the winds that were spawned by Typhoon Songda swept through Western Washington tonight, leaving downed trees and power outages in its wake. But Seattle was spared the brunt of the storm.

“We’re glad the storm passed without significant damage, given the potential outcomes,” the National Weather Service’s Seattle office said in a tweet.

Days earlier, computer models suggested there was a chance that Seattleites could get hit by winds gusting beyond 60 mph. But the storm’s track passed farther west and north than predicted, and winds in the Seattle area weren’t that strong.

That left some wondering what all the fuss was all about. After the weather service’s meteorologists tweeted that the storm had passed, The Seattle Times’ deputy opinion editor, Mark Higgins, tweeted back. “What storm?” he asked. “Whole lot of hype for … nothing?” That set off yet another exchange:

Gusts in excess of 60 mph were indeed recorded, but along the coast rather than in Seattle.

As of 9 p.m. PT, Puget Sound Energy reported outages affecting about 9,200 customers in its service areas. Snohomish County PUD reported another 7,000 without power. The University of Washington at Bothell reported that it was hit by one of the outages and had to suspend operations.

In contrast, about 700 Seattle City Light customers were reportedly in the dark.

Some of the outages were left over from Friday’s windstorm, which had been seen as a prelude to today’s main event. Several people suffered storm-related injuries on Friday, including a 4-year-old boy in Seattle’s Fauntleroy neighborhood who was seriously hurt by a falling tree branch.

It may well turn out that Friday’s storm had more of an impact on Seattle than tonight’s not-so-big blow.

To keep up with the latest, check in with the weather service’s website as well as @NWSSeattle and @SEACityLight on Twitter. The hashtags for storm tweets include #wawx and #wawind.

There are also an array of mobile apps and mobile-optimized websites that give you the local angle on weather and outages:

  • Find It, Fix It, from the City of Seattle, for iOS and Android devices.
  • myPSE from Puget Sound Energy, for iOS, Android and Windows.
  • uWx for Android, from University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences.
  • from the National Weather Service, for iOS and Android.

Comcast says it’s making more than 20,000 of its outdoor Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots available for free public use in Western Washington and Spokane County to help keep people connected during the storm. For details, including hotspot locations, check out Comcast’s Washington website.

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