- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - As Western Washington weather stays warm and wet, forecasters are warning about a third “w” - strong winds expected from two incoming storms.

The National Weather Service said winds through Wednesday afternoon could hit 40 mph with gusts to 70 mph. After a breather, another storm could produce winds of 45 mph with gusts to 75 mph Thursday and Thursday night.

High temperatures in the area Tuesday hit the upper 50s and low 60s in many places.

On Tuesday morning, gusts as strong as 67 mph broke a ship free of its mooring in Bellingham.

A nearby worker told The Bellingham Herald it sounded like rifle shots as some of the cleats on the dock gave way. Shortly after noon, two tugs pushed the 650-foot Horizon Fairbanks back to its normal leased space at the Port of Bellingham. The ship is not active and carried no fuel.

Elsewhere in Whatcom County, high winds knocked over trees and downed utility lines, causing scattered power outages.

In southwest Washington, a wind gust of 84 mph hit Naselle, while Tokeland on the Washington coast recorded a gust of 54 mph.

The next storms will also bring more rain, expected to be heavy over the Olympic and Cascade mountains, the weather service said. That could lead to new flood watches for rivers in the area. By Tuesday evening, only the Skohomish River near Potlatch remained under a flood warning.

Cooler, drier weather is expected for the weekend.

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