By Kristina Pydynowski
A powerful storm will continue to kick up hurricane-force winds across parts of the Northwest and Rockies this weekend, threatening to cause damage, power outages and travel headaches.
Winds Saturday morning gusted to 102 mph on the peak of Crystal Mountain, Wash., and 109 mph at Kenosha Pass, Colo., according to AccuWeather.com Enterprise Solutions Meteorologist, Cory Mottice.
Additional hurricane-force winds will be measured throughout the Northwest and Rockies and not just in the highest elevations.
Such winds are blasting the coast, as well as places to the lee of the Rockies from Montana to Colorado. This includes Cut Bank, Mont., and Cheyenne, Wyo.
Even the lower elevations of Seattle and Spokane, Wash., Portland and Pendleton, Ore., and Denver, Colo., will experience wind gusts to or past 55 mph.
The Northwest will continue to experience its strongest winds of the weekend this Saturday. For Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, the strongest winds will occur on Sunday.
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The howling winds threaten to cause damage, power outages and travel problems for both motorists and airline passengers.
Seattle City Light reported that more than 28,000 customers were without power early Saturday morning. The good news is that crews were able to restore power to all but 8,000 of those customers in three hours.
While potentially causing flight delays, the winds will make driving difficult on stretches of Interstates 5, 15, 25, 84 and 90.
High-profile vehicles are at greatest risk of being overturned by the powerful winds, but even drivers of smaller vehicles will feel the winds tug at their cars and trucks.
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mike Doll is especially concerned for hazardous driving conditions through passes and roads that are orientated west to east or southwest to northeast.
Winds also threaten to interfere with passing and kicking plays during the NFL playoff games in Seattle Saturday afternoon and Denver Sunday afternoon.
In addition to the wind, players will be dealing with the soaking rain that is also accompanying the wind in Seattle and along the rest of the Northwest’s coast and I-5 corridor.
Large waves will also continue to pound the coastline, while the avalanche danger is high in the mountains.
Heavy snow in excess of a foot will blast the Cascades and Bitterroots, including I-90’s Snoqualmie Pass and other mountain passes. Travel will become extremely difficult, if not impossible, as the snow combines with the fierce winds to create an all-out blizzard.
A shower or two from the potent Northwest storm will reach San Francisco Saturday afternoon, but not drought-stricken Southern California.
Monday through Tuesday, calmer weather will return to Oregon and Washington as the Rockies and neighboring Plains endure more powerful wind events.
More at AccuWeather: Hurricane-Force Winds Whip Northwest, Rockies