Seattle Struggles With Blackout, Sweltering Heat
Volunteers delivered meals to elderly shut-ins, hotels passed out “survivor” T-shirts and scores of businesses were closed for a third day Friday as utility crews worked in record-breaking heat to repair a massive downtown power blackout.
Hundreds of City Light workers struggled to string heavy power cable through underground conduits and repair junction boxes and transformers damaged by a fire. Officials hoped to have full power restored by late today.
City Light spokeswoman Julia Greenlee said nearly a mile of cable was required to replace the burned and melted wires.
Emergency officials said the warm Seattle weather could begin to take a toll on older residents of the 55-square-block area that lost all electrical power Wednesday.
The National Weather Service reported the temperature Friday afternoon at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was 93, breaking the record of 91 set for the date in 1974.
Hope Tuttle, spokeswoman for the Red Cross, said volunteers were delivering meals to more than 200 mostly elderly people in apartment buildings and nurses were checking for residents with health problems. The Red Cross also set up an emergency station near where crews were working to dispense food, drinks and ice.
The Westin Hotel had only three elevators working in its two high-rise towers and air-conditioning was out in one of the towers, where windows are permanently sealed.
“Most of our guests have been just wonderful,” said Dior Hill, a Westin spokeswoman, adding that the hotel has been handing out T-shirts emblazoned with a light bulb crossed out by a slash line.
John Gilmore of the Downtown Seattle Assn. said business losses “could run into the millions.”