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332 Landslide

332 Landslide

December 12, 2008

Western Washington Severe Weather December 2008 5:00pm

KOMO TV is reporting an unusually high tide (+1.5ft) today is combining with equally unusual high winds to make traversing the local floating bridge a tricking and sometimes scary task.

As I was leaving my house at 11:55am for those errands, the window thermometer read 40 degrees, and the rain had increased to a steady downpour. I also placed an empty tuna tin in a relatively clear space on the patio table to track the rainfall.

As I made my way through Bremerton, a stop at the bank at 12:23pm, the wind was more sustained and the rain was now mixed with freezing rain.

Back in Kitsap county around 3pm, the wind had picked up considerably and I almost lost my hat! Keys still in hand, I nearly knocked myself out trying to clamp the hat back on my head. (remind me to take some keys off that ring!) The store (Fred Meyers) was busier than usual, even for a Friday. Making my way back to the house on Highway 16, the tops of the trees were now bending seriously with the wind coming in from what seemed the east, and holding the small compact Honda on the road was a little difficult a few times. I noticed a fair sized fir branch had fallen, but no other damage and the power was still on! YEAH!

While I was putting the groceries away, my father called from Tacoma to make sure I was prepared. The wind is not bad in Tacoma, according to him. He was surprised to hear it was blowing on my side (the Narrows bridge separates the Tacoma from the Kitsap area), and we were both surprised that the power flickered while we were talking. 3 or 4 flickers, then steady electricity. Whew!

At 4:30pm, a friend from Chicago called. When I told him about the coming storm, he exclaimed "That's why my trip to Seattle was cancelled!" He flys a lot for work, and had been scheduled to come in Saturday morning. I let him know to stay by the phone, because I had heard from a guy at the store that the snow had been pushed back to Saturday from tonight. While we were talking, the power flickered again, for a longer moment this time. I thought I was a goner! It came back on however.

At 5pm, a friend on the other side of town called, sounding a little frantic. "Are you OK?" Yes, I said. I'm fine, what's wrong? She explained that the entire town of Port Orchard seemed out of power. She had just come back from cutting a Christmas tree, and had planned on hitting the grocery on the way home. Her first choice was out of power, and then the street and traffic lights went out. She headed across town, hoping to leave the 'no power zone' behind, but never did find a single store open, so was sure I too was out of power. (and without a generator and knows I refuse to burn wood). It seemed to me the wind had died down a lot, and thought I should be OK. She of course offered to let me come and stay over should that change. I'll be making that a last resort thought, she has 2 bed ridden sickies over there! Checking the tuna can rain gauge, and only about an 1/8 inch seems to have fallen, it sure does seem like a lot more. I guess it must be the wind making it seem just that much more miserable.

It's 5:30pm now, and Steve Poole has just reassured us all that the storm is still coming. The mid-day snow has changed to midnight rain-snow mix, and in fact the snow is appearing now on radar at the northwestern edge of the Olympic mountains. Freezing rain is appearing on this side of the mountain shadow, and a solid band of rain covers the rest of western Washington from border to border, shore to Cascade mountains. Steve predicts the snow should hit me around 6am.

Breaking news while I'm watching:

Wind temps around the area:

Destruction Island: 86mph

Forks: 69mph

Hoquiam: 58mph

Alki Beach: 52mph

Seattle 45mph

Tacoma 45mph (Dad?)

Friday Harbor 47mph

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