Strong winds whipped through the Pacific Northwest on Sunday, March 28, causing damage in Eastern Oregon.
Wind speeds of 74 miles per hour were recorded at the Pendleton Airport, according to the National Weather Service, and hit 68 miles per hour at the Hermiston Municipal Airport. The highest reported location in the area was in Mission, where wind gusts reached 85 miles per hour.
The wind caused a few small power outages in the area. Tom Gauntt, a spokesperson for Pacific Power, said in the Pendleton area, eight different reported outages added up to about 150 total customers who lost power, with 11 customers yet to be restored as of 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 29.
“Those are from trees on lines and that sort of thing,” he said.
Gauntt said Pacific Power didn’t see any outages that covered more than 200 customers in northeastern Oregon. The company’s largest reported outages for the weekend were in the Bend area, where about 6,000 customers lost power. But for areas where high winds are common, Gauntt said, the infrastructure proved resilient.
Umatilla Electric Cooperative spokesperson Steve Meyers said the cooperative received reports of a “few scattered outages” and broken poles, causing three members to lose power in the Homestead area and about 40 members to lose power in the Poverty Flats Road area about 8:20 p.m. on Sunday.
In Morrow County, Commissioner Melissa Lindsay said she had heard some reports trees that had toppled over, and there was a large sheet metal grain bin that had fallen over into part of Kilkenny Road in the central part of the county. Overall, however, she said the damage didn’t seem to be nearly as severe as the May 2020 windstorm that caused extensive damage to the Wilson Road Mobile Home Park in Boardman.
“I made some phone calls, did some double checking, and I think Morrow County did OK,” she said.
The wind blew dust across Interstate 84 and Interstate 82 in the region, at times obscuring drivers’ view. The Sherman County Sheriff’s Office posted warnings to Facebook about dust shrouding Interstate 84 along the Columbia Gorge. And according to a traffic alert from Washington State Patrol’s public information officer, a “minor injury” crash involving seven vehicles temporarily blocked the westbound lanes of I-82 outside Richland, Washington.