Skip to comments.Powerful wind storm cuts power to hundreds of thousands in Western Washington
Posted on 01/07/2019 6:46:48 PM PST by fireman15
SEATTLE -- Strong wind gusts, approaching 60 mph in some areas, toppled trees and took down power lines on Sunday morning. In Seattle, more than 50,000 customers were in the dark by 2:30 a.m. according to Seattle City Light. By afternoon, crews were still working to restore power for roughly 6,000 City Light customers. Outages ballooned in cities to the south of Seattle, and on the Eastside, where Puget Sound Energy's outage map showed a combined total of nearly 220,000 customers affected early on.
(Excerpt) Read more at q13fox.com ...
We hadn't looked at the weather forecast. At midnight I took the dog out and it was calm. An hour later all hell broke loose with the wind and branches hitting the roof and decks and our outdoor furniture flying around like it was made out of paper.
The power went out almost immediately. It had been about two months since the last storm that knocked the power out. The generator which is under our back porch refused to start and I didn't have any starting fluid in the house. We live on a small airport so I had to make my way to the hangar. When I peaked around the corner of the house it felt like I was sticking my head out the window of the car on the freeway. It was an exciting walk with all the limbs and cones coming off the trees and debris flying around. I didn't get hit by anything that weighed very much.
After replacing the spark plug and spritzing the a little starter fluid in the hole, the generator started up. After that I have to switch from gasoline to natural gas, by closing the gasoline valve and then opening the natural gas valve when the engine starts to run rough.
Usually, we just lose power, but this storm took out the power, the internet and the nearby cell towers. The next door neighbor to our south lost a patch of roofing. His house is 3 stories high with a steep pitch on the side that was damaged. He is in his 70s and is not good on ladders. It took me almost as long to set up a couple ladders and tie them off to get to the area as it did to do the repair.
A tall fir from our property fell onto the neighbors' house to the North. Some of the branches poked holes in the roof over their main structure. The trunk of the tree smashed a covered area over their deck and broke their cut their hot tub in half. I spent all day today chain sawing the 3 foot diameter 100 ft. tall downed tree into 18 inch sections that we were able to throw off of their smashed up deck.
We had damage to the house we are moving back to in Tacoma as well. A big branch damaged the roof on one of our dormers.
I mention this storm because it is now making its way across the country, and it is pretty violent and came on very fast here. I hope that it moderates as it travels east. It is a reminder to be prepared for things that are out of the ordinary. We got our power, phones, cell phones, and internet back a couple hours ago and it is very welcome. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to start cleaning up the devastation in our yard.
Glad you are okay but this storm sounds pretty nasty. I know Chicagoland has a wind advisory for tomorrow with something like 50mph winds forecasted for the suburbs just south of the city.
We live on Whidbey Island. Were out the Thursday before Christmas until noon Christmas Eve. Then again last Thursday for about 6 hours. I applaud the great effort of PSE working through all these windstorms!
Sorry about your damage...we have 5 acres of branches down but no major damage.
The electric grid is pretty fragile...
I believe that it is the same storm. We had gusts over 60 in the lowlands and higher where we live. You would think that the mountains would disrupt it, but apparently the high winds caused by a large pressure and temperature differential that goes up a long way. We had some snow here as well, but it did not stick.
On our way back from checking our house in Tacoma yesterday, the traffic lights were still out up here. It was snowing and still pretty windy, and we went by a couple different crews working to restore power. I thought about how miserable it can be trying to fix stuff when it is cold and you are in the open elements.
I wasn't expecting to get our power or internet back today. So I am very grateful to the linemen and rest of the crews working for PSE as well and hope they are able to get the rest of the system up as soon as possible.
They should be glad they are doing their part to combat global warming.
It has been many years... maybe 12?? ..since our last major outage. After that week long experience we put in a generator system that keeps us happy during outages.
Overtime bump for the hourly PSE electrical workers. Front line guys will make $5K easy.
Me too. Live on an airport. Saw the flashes if electrical about 1:30. Power out. fired up the generator, even got some internet about 6:00 am then it went off too. apparently Puget Power Decided to kill all power to Covington. Now back up but lots of areas still out. No warning on the storm. Planes started flying in the AM.
I hope you don’t get anymore fierce storms. The weather patterns have been different lately, esp. where I live in AZ. Seems chances of rain every week now.
One thing that I meant to mention in my initial post was what I consider the most important piece of safety equipment... a decent head lamp for hands free operation. I bought mine through Amazon. It cost about $25. It has a band that can go around a hat. It uses two 16500 Lithium Ion batteries, with very powerful LEDs. It gives a lot of light for hours, and I have extra batteries.
We have had our 5000 watt generator for 30 years. We have used it 24 hours a day for a week on several occasions. When we first got it they were almost an oddity for home owners. They are actually cheaper these days than when we bought it.
I never expected it to last so long. It has a completely normal looking 10 HP Briggs and Stratton engine that is supposedly industrial quality with a cast iron sleeve. It does not start as easy as it once does but the darn thing just keeps going and going. Running it mostly on Natural Gas may have helped increase its longevity.
I made my own venturi adapter out of nylon using my 3-D Printer to suck the Natural Gas. It just bolts onto the end of the carburetor and I put a motorcycle air filter on the end of it. All that is needed in addition to the venturi is an $80 low pressure natural gas regulator, some hose and fittings. I already had a tee with a valve and quick connect at my meter to use with the BBQ.
The power goes out here often enough that nearly all of the neighbors have generators. Natural gas costs a third to run the generator as compared to gasoline, so about half of our neighbors are using natural gas.
One thing that many people do not seem to realize about is that if you are using a standard generator, they run far more efficiently when they are nearly fully loaded. So if you buy a generator that is much larger than you really need it is going to use a lot more fuel in the long run. For us 5000 watts is about right. I use a lot of metering, our typical lighting and electronics load is only around 1000 watts, but the microwave, furnace, refrigerator, freezer, washer and natural gas dryer all have high start-up loads. So it is a compromise. Some of our neighbors have much larger generators, but I think that they are wasting a lot of money in additional fuel burn.
We live on the same airport.
We live on the same airport.
Somebody at the north end of the field on the west side was burning a bunch of wet branches and the thick smoke was going across the field. I saw a couple of planes go through it and I wondered how they were able to see the runway.
Interesting, thanks for posting.
I gave a rustic cabin that is weather tight and stocked with enough wood and lamp oil to last several weeks. The hand pump is in the kitchen over the sink. And yes it has a 2 holer out back.
Mid winter pipe damage to the main redidence is a concern, but that’s what insurance is for.
Is there weather “Karma” with the winds “protesting” all the wind farms??? /sarc
The funny thing is that in the Northwest we have been blessed with one of the only “alternative energy sources”, hydropower that really makes any sense. Yet the idiot environmentalists around here have forced many that were built over a hundred years ago to be removed to “save” the fish. Even back then many hatcheries were built to mitigate, and “fish ladders” were built with dams to preserve runs on major rivers.
Nothing makes me madder than to see money wasted on these hairbrained bird and bat killing “wind farms”. Human stupidity hasn’t changed much in all of recorded history.
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