Friday, December 07, 2007
Last week, Western Washington got slammed with a 1-2-3 punch from Mother Nature. First we had cold and snow, none of which stuck here, but PILED in the mountains. THen came the wind...129 MPH clocked at Bay City, Wa, on the coast. We got slammed too, but not that high! THen came the rain! 5 " in Seattle and lower Pugert Sound around Tacoma and Olympia, and the coast.
We live on an Island in the middle of Puget SOund, right in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. WHat this means is that the warm moisture laden winds hit the olympics nd dump all the rain on the western and southern slopes and by the time it comes around to the North and down the Strait of Juan De Fuca, it is just really high winds. Whidbey Island and most of the San Juan Islands only get around 17" of rain a year. So while we were listening to the weather reports of the rain falling and the floods starting, we were sitting in sunshine, tied down to keep from blowing away.
The rains hit the deep snow in the mountains, and soaked the snow pack causing avalanches to close North Cascade passes, Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie pass which are our major E-W highways. THe rain then flooded the rivers in the lowlands, THe Chehalis, and rivers south of us, covering I-5 over 10 feet deep for over 20 miles. THat pretty much shuts off our trade routes. Highway 101 which runs along the coast from Mexico to Canada was closed in many parts around the Olympics due to fallen trees and mud slides. So we had no supplies coming in from the rest of the country.
THe shelves in stores were getting rather empty.
TOday they reopened I-5 after the Army Corps of Engineers knocked a hole in a levy and allowed the water to go back into the river and drain I-5. THere were semi trucks lined up for MILES waiting to get through. THey finally got through about 2 hours ago, bring milk, and diapers and water and food to THe Puget SOund Area.
We were not affected as much as Grays Harbor and Pacific COunty were. THey were flooded out of their homes, and left with out electricity due to the high winds. Trees are down every where, and the main power lines from the Bonneville Dam blew down also. It is really pretty grim there.
My lights did not even blink through the winds, I think the last storm and outage did in all the trees and branches and weak lines so that we are ok for a few months. Maybe..
Fresh Milk sure tastes good, and I am sure that the major malls are glad that their Christmas Supplies are finally able to get through.
It seems that we always have a major punch from Mama just before the holidays...usually the wind and flooding in the mountains, but this one was different and slammed the southwestern part of the state right where they hurt the most. THey are already the most economically challenged part of the state, due to the ban on logging and fishing, so what they lost will hurt them harder than what we lost. The Seattle Area has come through though like they always do, and have already sent trucks full of supplies and blankets to Aberdeen and Hoquiam, and the power crews are working hard to get the main lines back up.
All of the islands are secure. Ya know there is a distinct advantage to living on an Island...we float in floods. ;)
and Mary Lou in Texas...send me your email again please? (i lost it again :( )