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Fall storm slams Seattle

A fall storm slammed Seattle in late September, bringing record rainfall and high wind.

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SEATTLE — The images are both dramatic and devastating.

The Saturday storm blew in packing high winds and rain and the damage that comes with it.

weather07There were trees down, not just on power lines, but on cars and homes.

“I thought it was an earthquake at first until I heard Robin say, ‘Hey, just saw a tree fall on our house,’” homeowner Dan Miles said.

Now comes the second wave of the week.

This storm is expected to hit Thursday and drop much more rain than Saturday’s storm. Perhaps no one fears that scenario more than Jay Himmelman and his neighbors on Panaview Boulevard in Everett.

“It used to be I was excited because as a skier there’s snow in the mountains.  Now it’s just ugly because I know exactly what happens,” Himmelman said.

He knows because he’s seen it happen far too many times and it’s not a pretty sight.

Water, a lot of water, flows into the creek behind their homes at such a high rate they believe it’s causing deep-seated erosion and homes are sliding down the hill.

“Here it comes again, so it’s sad.  It’s just sad.  I’m just sick of it at this point. I’m just sick of it,” Himmelman said.

While Jay and his neighbors hope for the best, most everyone else is preparing for the worst.

“We’re expecting gusts up to 40 mph in Snohomish County, which could create a problem.  We’ve had some moisture. Trees may be more prone to coming down,” Snohomish County PUD spokesman Neil Neroutsos said.

The Snohomish County PUD, along with other utilities and WSDOT crews, are loaded and ready to hit the streets if there are problems.

“The one thing that will work in our favor is the storm last week probably brought down some of the more susceptible tree limbs that are on trees but still there is a danger that we may see some power outages overnight into tomorrow morning,” Neroutsos said Wednesday night.

The other big problem is urban flooding.

Saturday’s storm blew a lot of leaves from trees all over and now they sit curbside.

All that’s needed is a heavy flow of rainwater to move leaves from the curb to the storm drain.

Once it’s clogged, street flooding will soon follow, so everyone is urged to keep them clear around your home.

“Make sure you have the supplies on hand.  If you’re going to lose power for five or six hours, potentially, during a storm event, make sure you have the food that you need, make sure you have a warm room designated in your house, make sure you have some backup plans, a friend or neighbor you can visit who has power,” Neroutsos said.

BELLEVUE — It could be called the unfortunate sound of the season.

The roar of a chainsaw, usually at this time of the year, preceded by high winds and downed trees.

treeOne, 90 feet tall and 12,000 pounds, landed on top of Eric and Robin Miles’ Bellevue home.

They were inside Saturday morning, when the tree came down.

“I was upstairs, the wife was downstairs.  She saw it.  I felt it. I thought it was an earthquake at first,” homeowner Dan Miles said.

“I was watching the trees waving in the wind and next thing I knew I saw one of the trees coming toward the house and so I yelled to my husband and said, ‘Honey, a tree is going to hit our house’ and then bang and everything shook and, oh, my gosh,” homeowner Robin Miles said.

On the inside there is damage in the kitchen and in this upstairs bedroom.

But, the Miles know there is likely structural damage they cannot see.

An insurance adjuster is expected this week and the good news is no one was hurt.

“We were very, very, lucky, very lucky,” Robin Miles said.

Heath Hampton is lucky too.

The storm brought a windfall of new business for his Cloudy Sky Tree Service.

They’ve been working nonstop and there’s still a lot of work to do.

“We’ve been fairly busy but this just pushes us back enough to help us get to Christmas,” tree service owner Heath Hampton said.

Now that the storm has passed the cleanup is under way and there’s a lot of work still to be done to rake up leaves, clean out gutters and most importantly to clear storm drains.

Road crews are doing their part but all of us must do our part to clean drains near our homes and keep them free of debris.

“We’ve got about 80,000 storm drains in the city of Seattle and at this time of year they get overwhelmed when there’s a big wind storm and all the leaves blow into the drains.  If they can help us out by raking out their local storm drain they can stop flooding in front of their house,” Seattle Public Utilities spokesman Andy Ryan said.

FREDERICKSON, Wash. — An EF1 tornado hit a couple of businesses and homes in this small Pierce County town, with wind gusts reaching an estimated 110 mph Monday morning.

People in Frederickson, which is east of Spanaway, were rattled when the tornado moved through town and damaged homes along Canyon Road. The first reports came from the Northwest Door plant.

“It sounded like a vacuum starting up at first — high-pitched whining sound and then a big boom and metal bending and tearing a little bit,” Kirk Ramsden said.

fredericksonDozens of employees ducked for cover as the tornado took a piece of the roof off the plant. No one was hurt.

“They’re not allowing anyone inside the warehouse right now because one of the beams is actually twisted, so there is structural damage to the building,” Central Pierce County Fire Assistant Chief Ed Hrivnak said.

After assessing the damage and knowing everyone was OK. the door company’s president joked about the matter. “We’re very pleased that these are northwest doors in the entire building and not one of them is damaged or inoperable — that was good,” Jeff Hohman said,

There was also damage to Boeing property to the northeast.

In a small residential neighborhood trees were toppled, fencing flew in the air and a roof was ripped from Carlos Garcia’s home.

“We heard the house shaking, rumbling,” Garcia said. “We didn’t know what it was. We thought it was an earthquake.”

His backyard saw damage as well. His neighbors large, metal gazebo flew into his backyard and landed just a couple feet from his home.

The Department of Emergency Management warns that backyard items like lawn furniture could make a severe storm deadly.

“I’m just glad that we’re all safe and nobody got hurt,” Garcia said. “That’s all. That can be replaced. Our lives cannot be replaced.”

Local News

Cleanup begins as winds, rains slowly subside

SEATTLE — Wet, windy weather was reminiscent of November blazed through the Puget Sound Sunday night, knocking down tress and power lines while thoroughly soaking anyone who dared step into the rain.

Now as the wind and rain dies down, the cleanup begins.

Puget Sound Energy crews worked to get power back to the more than 10,000 customers who were without power at 6 a.m. Monday morning. One hundred and seven different outages effected a wide range of customers; with as many as 7,000 customers near Orting losing power around 5 a.m. Monday morning as bad weather knocked two substations off line. Schools in Orting were closed Monday following the outage.

Two thousands customers in Skagit County and nearly 1,000 in Kitsap rounded out the counties in the area with the highest number of outages.

photoPSE is fully staffed, officials said, as the hurricane-force winds that hit the area Sunday night were well predicted.

“PSE crews are going from one location to another to restore power,” officials said.

Only around 100 customers in the Seattle were without power, but downed trees and limbs, as well as heavy rain hindered traffic around the area early Monday morning.

Winds and rain were expected to be largely out of the area by Monday evening. But high-altitude mountain snow and some thunderstorms were expected.

Mason County PUD officials said more than 1,700 customers were without power around 4 a.m. on the Tahuya Peninsula west of Belfair. The number has dropped since Sunday night, when more than 3,500 customers in Mason County were without power.

For more information on PSE or Mason County PUD power outages, click here.

Residents reporting a power outage should call 1-888-225-5773

Local News

VIDEO: Early fall storm leaves many wet, weary

Local News

Heavy rain causes flooding, power outages

photoSEATTLE – It was a mess all across Western Washington as heavy rain plummeted the region Saturday.

Nearly three inches of rain fell in Olympia while several trees were no match for high winds in West Seattle.

“I was thinking do we call all of our friends with chain saws,” said West Seattle Resident Lori Mason.

The non-stop rain turned many roads into rivers bringing traffic to a crawl on highways and everywhere in between.

“Everyone is driving slower and that is good,” said driver Michael Trepp.

From Everett to Kent down to Tacoma, the blanket of rain either shut down streets or had drivers taking chances.

In other areas the slippery surface was downright dangerous.

“It’s like being in ferry line waiting for the ferry,” said Trepp.

A car spun out of control on Highway 99, paralyzing traffic heading into Seattle for more than an hour.

In Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood, a tow truck had to help a driver who lost control and slid into a ditch.

Power outages left thousands of people in Seattle in the dark.

“We’ve been using candles lots of talking been doing a lot of eye contact,” said Queen Anne Resident Joanne Keenan.

After a little bit too much quiet in their home, Keenan and her family went searching for a place with electricity.

“We are trying to find a restaurant that is warm and hoping to eat dinner,” said Keenan.

As of 9:12 p.m. Saturday night Seattle City Light had 2,000 customers without power out of the more than 19,000 who were affected.

Crews all across Western Washington are keeping a close eye on the sewer systems so they don’t overflow into area waterways, something that happened in the last big storm.


Wind and rain continues


Round one of this “two punch” system will be winding down later tonight. Tomorrow will see more rain and wind that will increase as we head into the afternoon and evening hours. The National Weather Service has issued a wind watch for tomorrow as winds are expected to average 40mph in some spots with gusts as high as 60 mph.

The rain continues on Monday, but winds will die down. Scattered showers are expected almost every day next week so localized flooding is possible as area rivers rise and storm drains clog. Daytime highs will be near 60 or slightly cooler.