LACEY, Wash. – It wasn’t a tornado that swept through Lacey and Thurston County on Thursday. The National Weather Service said the damage was likely caused by a microburst or straight line winds.
On Friday afternoon, the city of Lacey announced an emergency declaration, citing extensive power outages, damaged homes and flooding. The declaration allows the city to make emergency purchases and emergency public works actions. The emergency declaration is in force for 30 days.
Thursday's storm arrived with plenty of rain and wind.
“The winds hit, the rain hit, you could not see the ground,” said Bill Williams of Lacey.
One tree gouged its way through Michele Mantle’s home near Ruddell Road SE. The damage outside looked small compared to the mess inside.
“I just tried to get stuff out of the way,” said Mantle, recalling how she moved all of her furniture out of the damaged rooms.
Several cars were also damaged after trees fell into numerous parking lots.
“All of the sudden the wind just started raging and it was over in 10 minutes," said Teresa Carr, a local homeowner insurance agent. "And then the calls started coming in.”
Carr said a client’s home near Steilacoom Road SE had recently been remodeled and was about to be sold until a giant group of trees came crashing down onto the garage.
“I’ve been a Farmers Insurance agent for 26 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” she said.
Local firefighters responded to more than 100 storm-related calls for service since Thursday night. There were no reports of serious injuries.
The widespread damage made its mark and Thursday’s storm was one people like Bill Williams won’t forget.
“This was different,” he said. “I mean it was, ‘Take me back to Kansas, Dorothy’. It was absolutely devastating.”
The city also announced a plan to offer an expedited building permit program that could allow homeowners to make repairs more quickly.