Storm dumps rain, knocks out power

But little damage was reported in Wednesday's storm, which featured nearly a half-inch of rain and a 56 mph wind.

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With the fickle weather of May showing its many faces---again---sunglasses mixed with the surprise of torrential rain Wednesday shortly after 6:30 as a baseball fan exited a rain-canceled game at Howard Tietan Park and streaked through the falling streaks en route to her car. May 19, 2010

WALLA WALLA -- A fast-moving storm that blasted through Wednesday caused several power failures, but little other damage.

A power line that went down at 6:30 p.m. cut electricity to 754 Pacific Power customers in the northwest section of downtown Walla Walla and on 13th Avenue, said Jan Mitchell, utility spokeswoman. Crews were able to restore electricity to all but two customers by about 7:45 p.m., she said.

At about the same time, two other power failures affected about 150 people on Wallula Avenue near U.S. Highway 12 and 80 people in the area north of Howard Tietan Park. Power was restored in the first area fairly quickly, Mitchell said, but electricity was out for about eight hours in the park area.

The storm was one of a series of disturbances that swept from Oregon through Southeast Washington starting around 6 p.m., prompting the National Weather Service to post severe weather warnings throughout the region.

A peak wind speed of 56 mph was measured at Walla Walla Regional Airport at 6:44 p.m. and the storm dumped a total of .47 inches before midnight, the weather service reported. That amount, combined with precipitation from a storm that moved through Tuesday, brought the two-day total to 1.04 inches.

The high winds left streets littered with twigs, leaves and branches. Emergency workers from Fire District Four and College Place were called out for downed lines reported at 6:39 p.m. at Wallula and McKinney roads and at 6:45 p.m. at 12th Street and Grandview Avenue west of College Place.

City of Walla Walla workers were called to two locations in the city to put up barricades for Pacific Power crews, but otherwise no major damage was reported. College Place also reported no blocked roads or downed trees, said Paul Hartwig, city public works director. "We fared pretty well," he said.

No trees were reported blown down in city parks, although some lost limbs, said Jim Dumont, city of Walla Walla parks and recreation director. "We're getting pretty used to this, Mother Nature keeps doing our pruning for us," he said in reference to this spring's storms.

In the area served by Columbia Rural Electric Association, only one home on Valley Grove Road lost power when a limb fell across a line, said Scott Peters, manager of marketing and member services. Power was quickly restored at the residence.

No power failures were reported in areas served by Milton-Freewater Light and Power, said Mike Charlo, electric superintendent.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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