Wind ripped through the Puget Sound and Nisqually Valley early Sunday morning causing wide-spread power outages.
While much of the power was restored within Yelm city limits pretty quickly, there were areas in and around Yelm that were out for more than a day.
The power outage also caused problems with the city’s water supply.
On Monday morning, the city issued an alert to residents that the outage caused a system failure and as a result water customers were experiencing very low water pressure.
Staff asked residents to reduce their water consumption as much as possible until the system recovered and restored pressure.
Yelm Community Schools Communications Director Teri Pablo said the low water pressure led to complications in serving students lunches and providing septic services to students and staff. The district also had some issues with the hot water Monday morning.
Pablo said the main challenge was with the kitchen staff’s operations — they couldn’t use the industrial dishwashers and had to work to reduce as much water usage within the kitchen. The kitchen staff also had sack lunches prepared in case not enough hot lunches could be served.
On social media, parents and students expressed frustration about the water issues at the schools, claiming students were denied use of the bathroom unless it was an emergency.
The unpleasantness was short-lived however, with city water pressure being fully restored by Tuesday morning.
“We have also corrected the control systems issue and are working to implement some new solutions to improve redundancy to further shield our customers from interruptions in potable and fire flow services in the event of a power outage or irregular power supply in the future,” City of Yelm reported Tuesday. “Thank you for your patience and understanding as we responded to issues reflected to the recent storm.”
Yelm Police Chief Todd Stancil, who also serves as chair for the county’s emergency management board, said during this storm the city was able to get information about the water issues out quickly and efficiently to citizens using the city’s emergency alert system, Thurston Community Alert. Residents can sign up for the service, which will text emergency alerts to their cell phones, through the city’s website, www.ci.yelm.wa.us. Click “sign up” on the righthand side of the site’s main page.