Power failures hit area as windstorm blows through

More gusty weather and chillier temperatures are in the works as a cold front is expected.

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A stream of early morning traffic flows by the splintered remnants of a large tree fallen onto the back of a car in front of 363 South 2nd Avenue as city workers Seth Minson, right, and Frank Aguilar work with chainsaws on damage control. The car, owned by the residents at 363 S. 2nd---Kenneth and Kathryn Kennedy---had its rear window smashed out and heavy damage to the back of the car. Kathryn Kennedy noted that she heard heavy wind at around 5am and then a loud explosion that she thought might be lightning. The Kennedy's home appeared to be without damage but the front yard tree, which had been with the home for the 30 years the couple have lived there, was completely uprooted. December 14, 2010

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Massive tree uprooted at 363 S. Second Avenue missed the house but hit the car. December 14, 2010

WALLA WALLA -- Two large power failures struck sections of Walla Walla this morning as a windstorm blew through the area.

More windy weather is in store as a cold front moves into the region.

The first blackout was reported at 4:54 a.m. and affected 1,971 customers, said Jan Mitchell, Pacific Power spokeswoman. Power was restored at 6:40 a.m.

The cause was listed as a tree knocking down a power line connected to the utility's Mill Creek Substation, Mitchell said.

The second power failure happened at 5:03 a.m. and affected 1,540 customers. Power was partially restored to about 600 homes and businesses at 6:32 a.m. and fully restored at 6:44 a.m. today, she said.

The failure happened in the area of the utility's Prospect Point Substation, but crews patrolling the power lines found no apparent cause, Mitchell said.

Ann Adams, assistant meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pendleton, said a fast-moving squall moved through the area starting shortly before 5 a.m., and several lightning strikes reported around 5:30.

The winds went from about 14 mph to sustained speeds of 36 mph with one gust of 58 mph reported at Walla Walla Regional Airport.

According to posts from local residents on Facebook, a "fast-moving" black cloud was seen moving over the area at 5 a.m. Along with gusty winds, the disturbance also brought brief, but intense, rain showers.

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