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Edition Date: December 18, 2006
Storm effects linger
by Woodinville Weekly staff

ImageIan Gleadle/staff photo
Downed power lines, poles and traffic signals were a typical sight along Eastside roadways after the windstorm.

Last-minute decision saves Woodinville pair

The local couple had recently purchased the new bed. Piled with fluffy pillows, it looked like a great place to be cozy on a stormy winter night.

But their house, located between Woodinville and Duvall, was surrounded by trees and the bedroom was upstairs. As the wind howled outside last Thursday night, the couple discussed whether they would be better off downstairs.

As they recounted what they called their “Christmas miracle,” the couple, who wish to remain anonymous, said the decision they made was fateful.

At the last minute, what they called virtually “a flip of a coin,” they both agreed they would probably be safer if they spent the night in the living room on some sofa pillows.

Over the noise of the wind, they heard what sounded like an “explosion” upstairs. When they checked to see what happened, they found a giant fir tree had come through the roof, crashing through the rafters and ceiling and landing right in the middle of the bed, crushing it.

“We would not be here if we had been in that bed,” the couple said, still very much shaken a day later. “It’s like the house is cut in half, a total wreck.”

As they began their cleanup effort, as did others with damage to their homes, other storm victims coped with the extended power outage. One resourceful Woodinville nail salon owner plugged one of her nail stations into her car battery so she could continue to do nails for one customer at a time. Powerless residents lined up at the only working laundromat in Woodinville to wash their clothes.

ImageCourtesy photo
A large evergreen tree slashed open the upstairs of a home near Woodinville when it fell during the night of the windstorm. The tree crushed a new bed the residents had recently purchased, but the couple were safe downstairs when the tree came down.

Weather experts described the storm as “memorable.” Gusts as high as 69 mph were recorded at SeaTac airport. Rain overwhelmed storm drains, creating widespread street flooding. Both the Seattle P-I and Times could not be printed because the power had gone out at the Bothell plant.

Over a million people in Western Washington lost electricity during the height of the storm and residents were warned some could be out for several days. Utility crews worked all weekend untangling masses of wires amid downed trees and branches that were everywhere. Drivers waited in long lines to get gas for their cars and generators, then the gas stations still operating began running out of fuel. Drivers described Woodinville-Duvall Road as “like a war zone.”

Many were taken to hospitals suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning after bringing generators or charcoal barbecues inside. A 26-year-old Kirkland man was found dead in his home next to a running generator.

A citizen damage report hotline, 1-800-523-5044, has been established to collect property damage information from throughout King County. Residents can call the King County Emergency Communication Center from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily, until further notice to report damage sustained during this most recent storm.

Citizens are urged to document damage with photographs, as reported information will be used to assist Washington State in requesting federal disaster assistance.

For more information on safety tips, visit the Public Health – Seattle & King County Web site, http://www.metrokc.gov/health/news/06121401.htm.

King County is responding to other storm impacts, including:

Yard waste and storm debris - Wood debris such as stumps, tree limbs and brush can be taken to recycling processors. Visit the Solid Waste Division Web site, www.metrokc.gov/dnrp/swd, and select the “What Do I Do With...?” option. Select either “Business” or “Resident,” or “All landscaping/landclearing” and click the “Search” button to generate a list of recycling processors. In many cases these recycling options are significantly less expensive than disposal.

Parks - Most King County trails sustained some damage from downed trees and falling limbs.

The East Lake Sammamish Trail was among the hardest hit, with numerous trees that need to be moved. Parks crews need several days to remove all of the debris from the trail before it can be safely used.