Monday, December 15, 2014

All Is Well

By the time the forecast windstorm arrived, its strength had been downgraded a tiny bit.  But it was still very strong when it arrived Thursday nite (aside: why do these things always happen at nite?).

For an assortment of reasons too complicated to detail here, we spent the nite at our cabin on Camano Island.  The maximum wind speed we clocked was 43 kt, but the NWS recorded 53 kt elsewhere on the island.  We lost no trees that we know of, and suffered no damage.  But the power went off at about 19:30.

But oh boy, Friday morning, when I decided to make a mad dash up to Anacortes to check on Eolian, the wind's effect was everywhere.  First, in our little neighborhood, trees had fallen across the streets in three places in the two blocks out to the main road.  But islanders, being self-reliant, had cleared them overnight.

The real problem was evident a little further along.  A tree had fallen and taken the power line with it.  Tho the road crew had cleared the worst of the tree debris, the wire was still lying in the road, with large burned spots and melted aluminum wherever it touched the road surface.  In getting off the island I passed more than another half-dozen places where trees had fallen across the road.  In each case, they had already been cleared by 08:00 - impressive!  Nevertheless, the power line crews had their hands full.  At its height, the PUD reported that some 17,000 of their customers were without power, most on Camano Island... which only has 22,000 residents.

I was a bundle of nerves all nite long, and so by the time I got to Anacortes I was pretty apprehensive.  But as it turned out, Eolian was fine.  The heat pump was running, keeping her at 61° inside (which was the setpoint).  The dock steps (probably 100 lb, and with a big iron grappling hook stored inside) had been blown perhaps a foot down the dock.  But the LED Christmas tree we had on the bow was still in place, undamaged. 

As you might expect, there are no wind reporting locations right at the marina, but here are the reports from some nearby locations:

Smith Island, in the east entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca

South end of Padilla Bay
Mid-Padilla Bay
As you can see, there's a lot of variation - not uncommon where there is significant relief in the landscape.  So the winds at the marina probably did not reach the forecast 50 kt, although it is possible that some gusts could have been that strong.

With Eolian having weathered the storm successfully, and power back on at the cabin, all is right in the world once more.  Halleluia!


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