Prepare for Possible Wind-Related Outages

With the National Weather Service forecast predicting high winds Friday, Seattle City Light is preparing for power outages and encouraging customers to do the same.

A City Light crew makes repairs after a windstorm

According to the forecast, winds could reach 50 to 60 miles per hour by midday. City Light is monitoring conditions and preparing crews to respond to possible outages once winds die down enough that they can work safely. You can keep up with predicted wind conditions via Seattle City Light’s WindWatch, a tool developed in partnership with the University of Washington.

Should widespread outages occur, our response will prioritized to address life safety situations, then emergency services, followed by repairs which will bring the largest number of customers back into service. Storm damage can take hours to repair and large events can take days.

In the event of an outage:

  • Report the Outage – Please contact the Seattle City Light Power Outage Hotline at (206) 684-3000. Please remember to give us your name, address, phone number and describe any unusual circumstances that could help us identify the problem.
  • Stay Away from Downed Power Lines – Downed power lines are extremely dangerous. If you come across any downed lines, do not approach or touch anything in contact with the wire as it could be energized and live. If you see a downed power line, call 911 or (206) 684-3000. You can also report downed power lines by sharing it through City Light’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
  • Have Your Emergency Kit/Plan Ready – Prepare an emergency kit if you haven’t already. Some ideas to include are a working flashlight, glow-in-the-dark stick lights, wind-up clock, portable radio, manual can opener and mylar blanket. During a major storm, have a plan for locating family members in case you are not with them. For more information about emergency kits and plans, please visit: www.takewinterbystorm.org.
  • Have Your Phone Ready – Cordless phones will not work without electricity. Have a corded or cell phone available. If your cell phone is your primary phone, make sure it is charged and you have a phone charger ready. Charge up external batteries if you have them.
  • Be Fire Safe – Do not use candles as a light source nor any open flame as a heat source.
  • Be Cautious with Generators and Grills – Use generators with care during a power outage and always use portable generators outside in well-ventilated areas. Never plug a generator into your home circuitry. Instead, plug in appliances directly into the outlets on the generator. When it comes to the grill, do not use barbeques indoors.
  • Life-Support Customers – If you rely on electric life-support machines, make sure you have emergency power and know how to operate it. Make sure your system has an alarm to alert you if the power goes out.
  • Use Hot Water Sparingly – Most hot water tanks will retain heat for up to 24 to 72 hours.
  • Close Your Refrigerator/Freezer – Keep your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible. A full refrigerator will maintain safe temperatures for up to six to 10 hours; a full freezer up to 2 days. In most cases, food should be safe if refrigerators and freezers remain closed while the power is out. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Unplug Electrical Appliances – If you experience a prolonged outage, be sure to turn off electrical appliances to prevent fires and equipment damage. Some electrical appliances to consider unplugging before a storm hits are computers and televisions.
  • Electric Garage Owners – Know how to use the manual override of your electric garage door if your power goes out.
  • Remember Your Pets – Household pets such as cats, dogs, fish and birds may require special care. Contact your veterinarian for more information.

To keep up to date with emergency events in Seattle, join Alert Seattle, the City of Seattle’s official emergency notification system. Sign up here.