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Weather

A man watches the surf Tuesday from Bastendorff Beach as large swells crash into rocks sending water near the top of Coos Head. The storm crashing into the coast provided a spectacular show for wave watchers but downed trees left hundreds without power along Cape Arago Highway.

COOS COUNTY — Tuesday's storm took out power for over 4,000 homes.

Though power was restored within a few hours for most, 484 residences remained dark until midnight as repairs were made that were caused by heavy wind and fallen trees.

“Most are north of Barview,” said Tom Gauntt on Tuesday afternoon of the homes that didn't have power restored until later that night, attributing the outage to the storm. Wind has brought down numerous trees on Cape Arago Highway, taking with them power lines.

“There are 30 separate incidents of downed trees,” he said, adding that another storm could cause more damage to weakened trees. “Branches are weakened from the winds this morning. It won’t take much to break those off. If you have power now and know another storm is coming tonight, charge up devices you need like your phone.”

He added that it would be good to have blankets ready, as well as flashlights.

“If you’re out and around and see puddling or ponding, steer clear of that,” he said. “If you see wires, treat them as if they are live even if you don’t see any sparking. That’s not the only indicator of a live wire.”

If the power goes out, Gauntt reminded residents to call their local power company to report it.

“And if you’re in an area where there is an outage and you have neighbors who don’t make a lot of contact with outside folks, check in with them to make sure they are okay,” Gauntt said.

Early Tuesday morning, up to 4,256 people went without power.

As The World reported previously, the largest of those outages had been in the Empire area.

“That one started at 5:09 a.m. and is still active,” said Tom Gauntt in a previous interview, spokesman for Pacific Power. “There are 2,144 customers affected by it.”

Empire had another outage earlier this morning at 4:31 a.m. that took down power for 566 customers, but has since been restored.

“This is all wind related,” Gauntt said. “They found a wire downed by a tree on Cape Arago Highway, so are attempting to isolate the damage.”

Gauntt warned that so long as the storm continue, outages may as well. He assured that Pacific Power is moving to each outage to fix them as they happen.

“When the storm is finished, there may still be minor blows as limbs weakened by the storm are knocked down,” he said. “That is the shape of storms like this, you get aftershocks. Flooding is a component too. At some point, that can undermine trees and utility poles as well.”

The storm also caused two state highways in the Coos Bay area to close due to fallen trees.

In a press release from the Oregon Department of Transportation, Cape Arago Highway was temporarily shut down northeast of Charleston at milepost 7.8. Traffic was being detoured along Libby Lane.

However, Coos River Highway was closed at milepost 10 four miles west of Allegany with no detour available. Both have since been reopened.

Deputy Gabriel Fabrizio with the Coos County Sheriff’s Office told The World in an email that telephone poles were down Tuesday morning, but were already moved out of the way by Pacific Power.

“There is lots of debris in the road and standing water to watch out for,” Fabrizio said and reminded drivers to take it slow during storms.

An accident occurred Tuesday morning on Ocean Boulevard. A vehicle hit a tree, but according to Coos Bay Police there were no injuries.

According to Murphy, more rain will fall before 10 a.m. today and there is 100 percent chance of rain on Thursday.

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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