Wednesday, December 20, 2006

That Was a Hell of a Thing

Last Thursday night we had one heck of a windstorm. Apparently, the winds hit nearly 100 MPH out on the coast though gusts here topped out around 60 MPH. That was more than enough to wreak havoc on the whole Puget Sound area. After a few brownouts early in the evening, we finally lost power around 8PM. Leslie and I went to the living room to look at some of the trees and they were swaying wildly. It wasn't long before we realized how stupid it was to be next to a window with all of this going on so we headed to bed. Around midnight the storm was really going full force and the big window in our bedroom was groaning during the big gusts.

In the morning, our power was still out and we headed out to see the damage. We were insanely lucky in that nothing was damaged at our house. No trees in our yard, no broken windows, just a very dark house. Others were not so lucky. The road towards town was closed when a tree fell across the road, bringing down power lines and a utility pole along with it. In fact, there were huge trees down all over the place making it very hard to get around.

This picture was taken about a mile from our house on one of the main roads with the giant tree being held up only by the power lines. Driving under that was a bit nerve wracking.

The Sahalee neighborhood near our house was particularly hard hit. Sahalee is a gated community but with the power out, they had to open the gates which let riff raff like us drive through. Truth be told, it was the only way we could get home with so many other roads closed due to fallen trees. As we drove through, we saw a house with a tree in its living room - not unusual at this time of season but given that it came in through the window and was over 100 feet tall this was no standard Christmas tree.

As you can imagine, there was debris all over the golf course, though in this shot, you can't see any of the trees down. Just some stumps where they used to be.

We finally got our power back late Sunday morning. Leslie and I were just arriving at the local bagel shop when Zach called to say the power was back on. We did a little "we got power!" dance and others in the store clapped for us. Some people are still without power nearly a week after the storm and may still be in the dark for some time to come. While most things are back to normal, we still don't have cable TV. Apparently the storm knocked out the cable company's receiving gear because our internet connection still works fine but we don't get any TV channels. Oh well - I'll take electricity over cable TV any day of the week.

One interesting side effect of the storm was that a lot of people were using their fireplaces for heat and so the air became very smoky and hard to breathe. It did make for some nice sunrises though.

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