- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - A storm with high winds hit the Washington coast and northwest interior Thursday, causing electricity outages for at least 20,000 utility customers, and disrupting some ferry service and highway travel, officials said.

The National Weather Service reported gusts of 63 mph at Destruction Island, 41 mph at Hoquiam, 57 mph at Port Townsend, 54 mph at Bellingham and 52 mph at Whidbey Island.

The storm was accompanied by a half inch to an inch of rain in the lowlands and more in the mountains, said meteorologist Johnny Burg.

Wet roadways and traffic accidents dragged out the morning commute in the Seattle area.

Falling trees and blowing limbs were responsible for most of the more than 14,000 Puget Sound Energy outages, which were worse in Whatcom, Skagit and Island counties, said spokeswoman Akiko Oda.

The Clallam County Public Utility District reported more than 5,000 outages, the Peninsula Daily News reported.

High winds forced the state ferry service to cancel two early afternoon runs between Port Townsend and Coupeville.

The 10:35 a.m. ferry from Anacortes was delayed while the Coast Guard helped a 16-foot sailboat overpowered by the weather. A buoy tender picked up the sailor and towed his boat to shore, The Seattle Times reported.

The weather service issued a high wind warning for the coast and northwest interior, and a wind advisory for the Puget Sound area, through Thursday afternoon.

Gusty winds also were expected as the storm passes through Eastern Washington, with gusts up to 40 mph possible Thursday from the Columbia Basin into the Palouse.

The storm was expected to blow through by Thursday night. Friday and Saturday should be calmer and drier, Burg said.

The storm follows an October that had above-normal precipitation across Washington. November precipitation also is expected to be above normal, the weather service said.

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