Well, that was a thing. Last week’s post (Stormy And Quiet) saw the storm and celebrated the quiet season. Within a day or so the storm hit, and hit harder than most imagined. Whidbey folks got the opportunity to show their resilience.
The wind: At least 40 mph gusts recorded at stations around the island. A few islanders reported personal measurements more like 60mph. (I know I saw the post, but can’t find that specific link. Paste into the Comments if you can.)
Soon after that, the power popped off for almost the entire island.
At one point there were more than 110,000 outages throughout the region. It wasn’t just about Whidbey.
It was a good test of emergency preparedness kits, pantries, fuel supplies for cook stoves and generators, and a time for solar power equipped homes to test their battery’s capacity.
For those who could still access the internet via computer or phone or whatever, the damage reports began to come in.
Signs went up for Road Closed, Water Over Roadway, or the most obvious signs that were naturally delivered and deployed: trees down across the roads. When a tree falls in a forest, it’s a good reason to not be in the forest – and maybe have a chainsaw handy for firewood. When a tree falls near a powerline, it’s a good reason to not go near the area – and check on that emergency preparedness kit that’s in the car or at home.
One incident caught the nation’s attention. On the Deception Pass Bridge a gust tipped an eighteen-wheeler, which was fortunately caught by the guardrail. But the winds were so strong that they had to stabilize it, then wait for the winds to subside so the rescue crews wouldn’t be in danger. The bridge was closed for hours. At the same time, the Coupeville ferry was closed, leaving the Clinton ferry as the only way to get to and from the bridge. That also meant delays in getting power company crews onto the island to restore power.
There was also damage to historic structures. The Baby Island dock was swept away. The iconic Coupeville Wharf that is in so many tourist photos was damaged. (Look in the background to see the roof damage, and the height of the tide that made other damage potentially worse.)
The wind was bad enough, but the entire Puget Sound region received enough rain to trigger floods. A higher than normal tide brought the risk higher to structures like wharfs, docks, and seaside homes. Don’t be surprised to hear about fundraisers and GoFundMe campaigns.
Some of the better photos and reports and on various social media sites. And, of course, the best reports are the stories islanders will be telling islanders, perhaps with some modifications and moments of selective amnesia with each extra telling.
A few days later, the calm after the storm.
…and because it is November, the forecast remembers to deliver something for Thanksgiving.
"Guidance and ensembles suggests a stronger system will move through the area Wednesday night through Thursday night for lowland rain, breezy winds, and mountain snow, and some precipitation Friday." - National Weather Service Seattle WA
So, about resupplying the pantry, the fuel, the candles and batteries. It may be a little late for installing solar, and maybe not worry about propping up fallen fences for a while unless critters are involved.
Here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving!