The December Windstorm of 2006

It was December 14th 2006 and everyone had finished packing for eight days on a beach house in Hawaii.  The kids were tired of Dad asking if they were sure they had packed all they needed for the trip.  Tomorrow morning at 5:00am we were to load up into the Explorer and head for the airport. 

Between 7 and 8 pm the winds started to pick up.  Judy and I felt it would be a good idea to all head for the basement, just incase the wind caused a large limb or tree to come through the house.  We have lived here for about 20 years, and only once did we get a small hole in the roof from a falling limb.  At first we felt this wind storm would be the same as all the others, lots of wind noise and tree limbs spread all around the lawn and roof, but not much more. 

The local news stations kept updating what they thought would be the maximum wind speeds for the Seattle area.  First it was 45 MPH, then 55, 60, 65, then 80 Miles per Hour.  OK now we knew things may be getting serious.  Above the constant wind noise we cold hear big wind gusts that would come every 1 to 3 minutes.  Accompanying the noise of the wind gust, would be the sound of limbs cracking and hitting the house.  Most the time the limbs sounded small, but once in a while we would here a large limb hit the house somewhere, but no damage. 

About 9:40pm as were getting somewhat use to the sound of the wind gusts, we heard one of the loudest gusts so far then BAM!!  The entire house shook. I ran into the family room to see if everyone was OK.  Everyone was a bit scared but OK.  I grabbed the flashlight and ran upstairs.  I was almost expecting to see tree limbs hanging from the ceiling, but instead notice that some of the drywall near the ceiling on the back side of the house was damaged.

The wall was actually pushed in about 3 or 4 inches at the top.  Below is a little closer view.

Then I looked out the sliding glass door in the dining room below the damage.

That wasn't there before!  Might just be what caused the damage.

Bummer!  Looks like I'll have to stay around and take care of the tree removal, the cleanup, repairs, insurance etc.  I told Judy, Liz and Jacob they could still go to Hawaii, but I would stay home and get everything taken care of.  They didn't like that idea at all and voted to stay home and help.  I protested somewhat, but they had already made up their minds.

About 10:30pm the noise from the wind gusts was getting even more intense.  I decided it was time to get out of Dodge before one of the many larger trees decided to try it's trunk at home remodeling as well.  Since we where already packed, we loaded the explorer and went to find a place to stay.  We tried a couple of the hotels in Mukilteo, but nobody could handle all four of us in a single room.  When I mentioned rollaway bed, they all looked at me like I was from another planet.  We finally found a room in Lynnwood with three beds, although it took 15 minutes for the night clerk to figure out how many beds they had per room!

We could hear the winds until they finally subsided about 4am.  I was finally able to get a couple hours sleep.  Judy and I got up about 7am and drove back home to see if the house had suffered any additional damage.  As we turned down our neighborhood, there were tree limbs everywhere.

And there was still only one tree on the house.  We had expected at least one other tree through the roof, but were spared.

What a mess, but it could have been much worse.  We later found out later that hundreds if not thousands of homes around the Seattle area had tree on their homes.  More than 600,000 people where still without power. Many people had much more damage than we did. After giving the house a good once over, everything was fine, except for the one tree.  The fish where happy and we had already taken El Tigre (the cat) to be boarded during our vacation.  We went back to the hotel and picked up the kids and had a good breakfast before going back home and start the cleanup.

The kids helped me survey for additional damage from the storm.

Other than the main tree damage, the only other thing we found was a hole in a window screen and the rain gutter had been pierced by a falling limb.

The tree damage looked much worse on the outside than inside.





About 8:30pm Friday four trucks pulled up outside of our house.  This small army with chainsaws and flashlights in hand made quick work of the tree and put a temporary patch on the roof until real repairs could be made.  Notice the trees on the right hand side of the picture, we are just glad it wasn't one of those that fell on the house.


The next morning, the family and I went back out and cleaned up what was left.



From the front of the house, it looks as nothing happened at all.  Hopefully in a few weeks, it will look that way from the back side as well.



As soon as the tree was off the house, Judy got on the phone and re-booked our flight to Oahu.  Within 48 hours we where on the North Shore in a small beach house with an awesome view.

And without a care in the world for a week!