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July 3, 2012 at 9:01 AM

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A mighty wind, and not out of Congress

Washington, D.C., and surrounding suburban cities and towns in Maryland and northern Virginia were especially battered by howling summer storms that pummeled the East Coast. All those downed trees should remind Northwest utilities to plan ahead.

Large swaths of households, businesses and traffic lights without power is an all-too-familiar story. Puget Sound and environs regularly get buffeted by winter winds, so we commiserate with their suffering, and must be mindful of the warnings

Scenes from the nation's capital are uncomfortably reminiscent of the local December 2006 windstorm that left 1 million customers without power, and 14 deaths attributed to the storm. Other nasty bouts with power outages followed.

Winter storms, summer storms - the season hardly matters. A deep chill might be fended off with an extra sweater and maybe a warming fire, but it is still cold and miserable. Back East, everyone is sweltering in 90 degree plus heat, and when the power is out the availability of gas for hot water and cooking is scant relief. And, yes, the contents of the refrigerator and freezer will get tossed.

Local utilities will not squander their customers' money if they dispatch crews to look for trees grown over power lines. Work done in the summer might well avoid a disaster in the winter, and stupendous overtime payments.

Best wishes to those poor souls who might be without power for several more hot, humid days.

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