Western Washington Power Outage

Just a report to let you all know we did lose power during the severe windstorm that hit western Washington last Thursday, Dec 14.

Our power went out just after midnight, Friday morning. I was surfing the web at the time and was caught off guard by the eerie darkness inside and ouside our home. The power had been flickering on and off much of the evening but we have uninterruptible power supplies on all our essential equipment so the computers kept going without a hitch.

Once the power went completely out I thought, “Dang, I hope it comes back on soon. I have more surfing to do.” Minutes later the depleted power supplies started shutting down (so much for “uninterruptible”) and I sat in my home office in complete darkness thinking, “This is not good.”

We spent the next day-and-a-half doing some very different and very interesting living. Thankfully we have gas fireplaces, a gas range, a gas water heater and a gas grill. We also had a fairly good stock of food in the fridge and pantry. The problem wasn’t bathing, heat or food for us, thank goodness. The problem was zero Internet, zero TV and zero light once it hit 4PM each day. Very manageable all things considered.

Friday morning and afternoon we busied ourselves with chores we’d put off for TV watching and Internet surfing several times before. This included hanging some photos, reading and cleaning the kitchen. On Friday evening we visited with some friends in Renton since they had power and we didn’t care to sit around in a dark house waiting to fall asleep. Our other friends who live in Federal Way were there with their small children as well to escape the dark & sub-freezing temperatures. It was nice to watch some TV and steal some of their neighbor’s wi-fi. We brought Cougar Mountain cookie dough I purchased in a fund raiser early in the week and other perishables and made an event out of it. (The Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamaon cookies were a big hit.)

We returned home from our friends’ about midnight, Saturday. On the way back home we toured the areas surrounding our neighborhood to evaluate the damage. It did not look good. Much of Kirkland and Redmond was completely without power but downtown Bellevue seemed to emerge unscathed.

On Saturday morning TB went running and I read. Our homeowners association is on top of it so they had a crew out removing the debris from all our roofs and cleaning the gutters. When TB returned we made breakfast. TB then cleaned her office and I spent some quality time with my Zune watching movies and listening to music.

The sun started setting and we had decided to return to our friends’ in Renton to watch The Dallas Cowboys beat up on The Atlanta Falcons. Before heading out I walked the perimeter of our home to survey the damage from the storm and begin clearing the debris. There were tree remnants everywhere including a large section of a trunk that had crashed through the fence behind our home and scuffed our (recently painted) exterior.

Just as I started dragging the trunk toward the front of our home, I heard a large pop followed by a loud hum off in the distance. Having been an electrical engineering major, it reminded me of a large RC circuit doing its i = dq/dt thing. “Could it be?” I’m sure I exclaimed aloud to no one in particular. I hurdled several hedges and a stone retaining wall hurrying my way from the rear of our home toward the street. I opened the fence door and was ecstatic to see the street & landscape lighting throughout our neighborhood glowing like beacons of hope to vanquish my despair. TB came running outside to give me the news.

It was just before 4PM, Saturday, Dec 16. We rejoiced by doing some grounds keeping around our home which ended up producing 2 large Christmas trees worth of evergreen branches stacked curbside. We had to restrain ourselves from turning on every electronic device in our home considering the plight of many people in the area who still didn’t have power.

We spent 36 hours without power and we still don’t have TV or Internet access at home. Comcast hasn’t been very helpful or forthcoming with information so there is nothing we can do but wait. We live relatively close to work so we’ve come in the last two days to get online long enough to pay bills, check e-mail and prepare for our trip back home for the holidays.

There has been some crazy weather around this region over the last month. Let’s hope the worst is behind us.