A wind turbine at the city of Ellensburg’s Renewable Energy Park toppled over on Monday, buckling under wind speeds of more than 30 mph and gusts as high as 45 mph.
Gary Nystedt, city resource manager, said city staff will start going through the turbine’s wind speed data to figure out exactly when it came down.
He said the city will meet with Bellevue contractor Burke Electric – which installed several of the towers at the park, including the toppled Tangerie Alternative Power 10 kW system – to determine what the city’s next steps will be.
“Once we get more information of what actually failed and what was the cause, then we’ll go from there,” Nystedt said.
Judging by the damage, he said, the failure was probably in the tower holding the turbine itself.
Whether the other towers have any structural concerns will be a part of the discussion with the contractors, he said.
A combination of melting snow and extra irrigation runoff also was blamed for causing minor flooding of Mercer Creek near 18th Avenue and Regal Street on Sunday and Monday just north of Central Washington University.
Rick Bollinger, the city’s assistant public works director, said the city and the county irrigation district had been unable to find any blockages that would increase volume in that drainage area.
“All the creeks are running pretty hard because of the snow melt,” he said. “But that one, I think, is getting additional contribution through the irrigation water.”
The waters had receded by this morning, but Bollinger said sandbags will remain in place in the flooded area for a few days. The water came close to a couple of homes, but there was no damage he knew of.
“All we can do is just watch it,” he said. “If something further develops we’ll have to sandbag more.”
More than 15 inches of snow on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass Monday slowed travel and delayed crews working on blasting projects over the pass, forcing them to modify their scheudle.
A longer closure planned for Wednesday has been shortened, but WSDOT still plans to close the highway from 7 to 8 p.m. tonight, Wednesday and Thursday from Gold Creek at milepost 54 to the Price Creek interchange at milepost 61.
The National Weather Service forecasts sunny weather with a high of 58 degrees in Ellensburg today, and slightly lighter winds. Temperatures should rise in Ellensburg and Cle Elum, reaching highs in the 70s by the end of the week. The weather service forecast partly clear or cloudy skies and no snow for Snoqualmie Pass through the rest of the week.