Saturday, December 16, 2006

More Storm

I still cannot believe we did not lose our power. Over a million people were without power during this storm. Sea-Tac airport had the biggest gust ever recorded at 69 mph. True, this is not hurricane nor tornado strength but you have to realize we are the land of the big trees and the land of a billion big trees. When soggy soil is combined with major wind, down they come.

When we first moved to Mukilteo 18 years ago the power went out constantly with the weakest of windstorms. My theory is that finally all of the damaging trees that would affect our electricity have already fallen and the new trees are not yet big enough. Also, people I know have taken measures to remove gigantic trees next to their houses. We did this a year and a half ago and thank goodness we did. The giant doug fir and hemlock in our back yard would probably have been through our roof today. It cost us nearly $2000 to have it done. Right at this moment, this may have saved us thousands more.

In a four block radius around my house, five big trees had tumbled and two of them blocked roads. Luckily, none of them hit houses. But all over the entire Puget Sound area, trees smashed houses and cars. Four people died. Lots and lots of folks were lucky.

My chimney cap was nothing--even if it did scare the bejeebers out of us when it crashed on the roof.

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Downtown Seattle (King5, Pete Cassam)

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University district, Seattle (King5, Chadrick Ashby)

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Seattle suburb (King5, Justin Hawkins)

UPDATE---December 20: Still, folks are without power. One of Kaley's good friends in Edmonds just had their power restored yesterday. They were having to shower and cook with friends in our neighborhood. All of this makes me feel uncomfortable. A major disaster cannot be handled by any American city these days. All of us are one step away from New Orleans. So far we have lost 14 people in the aftermath. Many of these deaths are carbon monoxide due to charcoal grills or gas generators inside. Many more have been sickened. Virginia Mason hospital's hyperbaric chamber is going non-stop trying to save people's lives. In less than a week they have treated 68 patients when usually it is less than 10 a year.

Intersections scattered around are without lights. Restaurants and businesses have had to be closed during their normally most profit making time. Tree removal services, however, cannot keep up with the demand. I passed more than one yard in my neighborhood today with neatly stacked woodpiles and signs offering free wood. We may need it because they are predicting yet another windstorm tonight. Even though expected to be weaker, many loosened trees will come down and new power outages will be at the bottom of the priority list.