December 24, 2006

The Great Pre-Christmas Storm of 2006

Seattle was hit by an extremely severe storm that was the worst for over a decade. Trees and telegraph polls were liturally torn up by the roots or snapped in half like matchsticks by the force of the hurricane strength winds (75mph, and gusting to about 135mph in places!)

This video provides an overview of the situation that hit the Seattle area:

Here are some pictures of the scene of devastation in the Union Hill area of Redmond where we live, which was one of the most severely affected areas.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16225574/displaymode/1107/s/2/framenumber/12/
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16225574/displaymode/1107/s/2/framenumber/7/

At the peak of the storm, over 1.1 million homes (not to mention numerous businesses in the areas too) lost power around the Seattle area, and the utility companies have worked flat out to repair the infrastructure and get everyone back online.
The Microsoft campus was completely closed without power or network connectivity for 3 days too.

Our house was without power for 7 days, and our internet / cable / phone connectivity was out for 10 days.
Luckily we have a generator which kept the lights on and the heating working for at least part of the day.

Although our family already had some fairly good disaster preparations in place in line with the 3-days,3-ways preparedness program, the problem very quickly became ensuring we had enough gasoline stockpiled to last us through more than a temporary outage. Gas stations can't pump gas when they have no electricity!

Our preparedness was severely strained though when it became obvious that the situation would last many more days that expected, and most of the roads off the hill where we live were either blocked with fallen trees or downed power lines.

Thankfully everyone was safe and there was no damage to our house, although two of my co-workers had trees crash into their homes and will still be working thorough the insurance claim and repair work for some time.

We'll definitely not forget this Christmas holiday season in a hurry!

Entry categories: General
Posted by Jorgen Thelin at December 24, 2006 06:00 PM - [PermaLink]