Big Blow 2006

Album Cover: In Rainbows

"Words are a sawed-off shotgun."
Radiohead / Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Posted on December 15, 2006 7:04 PM in Personal
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Blogging from phone. Power's out. Cold as a devil. Tree on roof. Good times.

Update: Well, I survived what New York Vinnie called the "Big Blow 2006." If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can get all caught up over at The Boston Globe.

On Thursday night, just after the Seahawks disgraced their city, the winds started to blow and the lights began to flicker (it's a bit strange spelling that word with an 'e'). Around 11pm I was walking in the bedroom when a loud thud shook the entire house. The impact made me duck a bit, and next thing I knew I was telling my fiancée to stand in a threshold in case anything else fell to the roof in the immediate future (I think my earthquake experience was to blame here).

Not long after, our curiosity got the best of us and we made our way outside to try and find out what caused the big thud. We noticed a big branch hanging off the gutter and realized that we couldn't quite see where it ended. The wind was still blowing hard at that point, though, and we didn't want to risk having anything fall directly on our heads, so we quickly scampered back indoors.

It wasn't long after that that the power finally gave out, and we started hearing the sounds of transformers exploding in the far off distance. That and loud gusts of wind which sounded very eerie given that almost everything else had gone silent.

The next morning, I made my way out into the front yard, camera in hand, and snapped some pictures of the "branch" we had seen only a fraction of the night before. As it turns out, it wasn't a branch at all, but the upper half of one of the two large trees in our front yard. The wind had snapped it off completely, and it was the trunk landing on the roof above my head that created the abrupt thud the night before. Here's a glimpse of what I saw:

Tree on Roof

Having made it through The Inaugural Day Storm of 1993 when I was thirteen, I knew what the aftermath of a windstorm could look like. I hadn't experienced such a storm as an adult, though, so there were some surprises. For instance, I had no clue just how crazy people could get about gasoline during such a scenario. As we tried to stay warm underneath layers of clothing and piles of blankets, we listened to good ol' fashioned AM Radio and were amazed at all the stories of gas station yelling matches, especially the ones happening over in Bellevue. Little did I know I'd be involved in a gas station exchange of my own over the course of the coming weekend...but that's a story for another time. We were also pretty amazed by how lame AM radio hosts can be, but then again, there's a reason we never tune in to that frequency unless we're lacking electricity.

There were some positives that came out of the storm. We now know that the trees left standing are darn tough and probably won't be going anywhere until the next 10- or 20-year storm comes blowing through. We also know that it isn't a bad idea to have supplies on hand — like batteries of all sizes, a propane stove and a space heater, for instance — in case a similar situation (or God forbid, The Big One) arises in the future.

I also finally got some hands-on experience with Opera Mini after reading so much about it over at Opera Watch. I'll probably blog more about that in a separate entry in the near future. I do have to say, though, that it's pretty funny that my first ever blog post from a handheld device contained the phrase "tree on roof."

Before I put an end to this update, I should point out that I posted a slideshow to my B-Sides earlier today that contains some pretty telling photographs of the storm's aftermath. I also tracked down some pretty cool pictures over at Flickr tonight, which I'll leave you with...

Seattle Storm - Greenlake

Martha's Tree Lost a Branch

Seattle Windstorm


crushed Vanagon



Ryan on December 16, 2006 at 8:00 PM:

Very cool Bernie. Hope you get your power back soon. Just about everyone I know seems to have lost their power, but I'm doing great myself.


Ian Clifton on December 22, 2006 at 9:45 AM:

Glad the "branch" didn't take you out! I definitely agree about AM radio (I rarely even listen to FM). During the "mini-blizzard" that hit northern Washington after Thanksgiving, I was stuck in traffic (by stuck, I mean it took over 7 hours to go 12 miles) near Bellingham. I tuned in to every FM station and none were saying anything, so I tried all the AM ones... painful experience. Finally found one that had someone call in who was apparently just a 1/4 mile ahead of my car in the traffic and she said that she wasn't moving. That was the most info I got out of any radio station. Even the DOT number didn't say anything useful. They actually started talking about blogging on the station, but the conversation was less than interesting...


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