The climate of the North Olympic Peninsula, Washington State is unusually mild. Temperature variation between summer and winter, night and day is muted by the proximity of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Sequim is in Zone 8. We almost never get thunderstorms. Autumns usually are clear turning rainy. We occasionally get a cold winter storm blowing south from the Frazier Valley in Canada, but that’s maybe once a year in winter.
Our area had a severe windstorm on Friday, Nov. 4 in the evening. When we heard the wind rising I knew that we would probably lose power so I shut down the computer and we prepared our electric lanterns and flashlights.
We got our power back the evening of Nov. 6.
The windstorm was reported to have a wind speed of 75 miles per hour at the nearby marina. We have live here for 19 years and have never had such high winds at this season.
Three large trees were uprooted on our property. One took out a section of fence. DH spent yesterday cutting up two of these for firewood. (A big task for a 70 year old with a chain saw – these were large trees. But firewood is $250 per cord in our area. I bought a couple of cords this year because DH hasn’t been getting firewood like he did when he was younger.)
The third tree, a large fir, pulled out by the roots and smashed through the back of our garage (also puncturing the roof in a different spot). It was so tall that it fell across the driveway right over our house. But, fortunately, it landed high in another tree next to our house. The top broke off and landed in front of the house, missing the roof by only two feet. This fir is currently still suspended high in the air until we can get an arborist with an extending bucket to reach and cut it apart.
This is a bad news - good news story. The bad news is that we will need to have our garage repaired. And it wasn’t fun going without power for 2 days.
The good news is that it could have been much, much worse. If this is the worst thing that happens this year, I will consider us lucky.
Now the fun begins with insurance company, contractors, etc.
Ugh. Sorry to hear it.
We have been very warm here in Central VA. High of 82F today, after which we should start cooling down to more appropriate temps with highs in the low to mid 50’s. It’s allowed me to get more outdoor work on the outside of the house that is limited by surface temps below 45F, and it’s been lovely not having to run either heat or AC. A cold snap might make those petroleum refiners go up a bit more though, and we have some more options to sell.
I am completely confused about where to head when we finally sell our house. Using Weatherspark.com to compare climate where we live with other possible relocation sites, but wonder how valid the data is in their system if we are in a changing climate. The hated hot/humid summer is getting worse, but the hated too cold to play outside winter is pretty nice right now. I am resigned to having the home one season a year but trying to avoid having to do it for two.
Such problems, I know.
who has worked hard to only have first world problems
That sucks…losing both power AND trees. This was quite common when we lived back East. Especially in the Boston metro west area…a heavily wooded neighbourhood and overhead power lines= frequent power outages. One particularly bad one was when a big tree limb came down taking down the road to house power line. So much of the general area, but not our immediate nabe, was affected that our problem wasn’t that urgent and we were without power for 6 days. Of course, freezer contents were lost, major inconvenience with no power in winter…but we did have a woodburning so didn’t freeze.
Real problem was, we were on well water…couldn’t flush toilets or shower. I had my gym gig so could go there everyday but poor husband was out to work too early and back too late for that to work for him. Fortunately, we had one faulty burner on our cooktop which didn’t cut the gas off so were able to melt snow for flushing and him to do a “top ‘n’ tail” so he didn’t stink. Thank gawd we’re English, I say.
You can bet we had an automatic generator installed afterwards…and I bought a really effective log splitter and one of these for smaller limbs…
Landscapers dealt with the ultra thick trunks and I reduced those to usable logs.
Water was the issue. I used what I had in storage and got more from a neighbor yesterday. I’m really tempted to get a generator.
I keep asking DH if he wants a log splitter. He always says no…but then he says no to a lot of things that I ultimately buy. What log splitter did you get?
I think it was a Woodeze electric. Orange in colour. I left it for the folk who bought the house so I don’t have a model number. It worked a treat and in an odd way, was entertaining to use. I had a whole load of 12"+ diameter logs in the front yard and it made very short work of them. Two settings…hare and tortoise. The “hare” was a quick whomp and split smaller diameter logs but the tortoise setting was the best. It drove through the big ones like those icebreaker ships you see.
When I was considering moving to your neck of the woods, a genny was on the check list as necessary. I lived in the boonies in the 60s, and am too familiar with power outages. My aunt’s house at the lake was even farther out. She didn’t have a genny, but had a wood stove. Flushing the toilet included going down the stairs to the lake with a couple buckets, for flushing water.
On the bright side of losing your trees, they can only fall on your house once.
Wendy, are you getting any snow today?
Not yet. Daytime temps in the 40s.
Snow showers are possible for tonight. Night-time temps in the 20s. This low temp is very unusual for Sequim, especially in November. So is the wide swing between day and night. In the winter, it’s usually 42 degrees high, 36 degrees low.
And this is autumn, not winter.
Wendy, do you follow Cliff Mass? You might enjoy his blog. He’s an atmospheric science professor at UW. He had good write ups on this storm both before and after. Interestingly, the storm dumped 4-5 inches of rain in some areas, but mostly missed other places, like Seattle and PA.
(Sorry to hear the news)
As a minimum…I’d have a laptop (built in battery) or a desktop with a UPS (15 min or more capacity) and have your internet WiFi router hooked to this too. Hopefully, if the power goes out you still have internet so you can find out how widespread the outage is, etc. Also a smart phone will work for this too, assuming the cell towers near you have backup power.
A basic 5500-7000 watt portable generator can be had for $500-$700 at HD/Lowes, prob Tractor Supply etc. Plus another $200-$300 for the generator switch with the power plug on the outside of the house. Anything with a Subaru engine (my 10 year old is “Husky” brand). That’s enough to power the heat, lights in key rooms, fridge, microwave, and internet/office. If you aren’t feeling like investing in a whole house Generac or something. Too bad about that major damage to your house. When the whole area lost power for 3 days due to an ice storm up here in NH some years ago, I learned that nothing matters but heat.
We have a wood stove for heat and cooking.
The only thing I worry about is the well pump for water. We have gravity septic.
You might look into a battery backup for that. The ones you might use for your computer would likely be way too small. I’d hazard a guess that a couple of automotive size batteries might handle your pump for a couple of days. Then you’d need a bit of equipment to keep them charged when the grid is on and convert the power to whatever is appropriate for your pump. If you have a well service, they might have something appropriate.
Or go the old-school route and store a bunch of water. Which is what you might be doing already.
Not to spoil and already not so good party, sorry about your news Wendy, but we have had 72 F for a few days running. We are sweating on the golf course in shorts. Not good. I am in central CT.
The thing that worries me about power outages is refrigeration. I had to toss some food after the regional blackout in the early 2000s.
Our 24’ RV/Trailer’s elec/propane refrigerator is our backup if we lose power, everything in the home refrigerator won’t fit, we use it as an expansion normally, but it’s good for quite a while on propane… Have a small, 2200W Honda genset to keep the batteries up, run the microwave… It’s our backup house during remodels or used by family if they are forced to evacuate in case of fires… Or maybe a long weekend out at the coast…
Reminder for me to tarp it, we just had the roof sealed, need to protect it from the sun that eats its roof over time…
In a pinch, a car power invertor like this one can emergency power.
But only low wattage things, phone chargers, etc., had one in the trailer, it couldn’t even fire up the TV, much less the micro, bought a generator, tried the 2000W Yamaha, it stalled out trying to run the micro, went to the 2200W Honda and it handled it OK… Wattage matters, heavy startup loads matter…
But not much power is the problem. Just look at the fuse protecting the cigarette lighter and that will tell you how much juice you can get out of it. #tldr not much.
Typically these are 10, 15 or 20 amps (the 12v fuse in the car).
So this means 120w, 180w or 240w (minus some efficiency loss)
Much more than you need for a phone, tablet or laptop.
But not nearly enough for something like a microwave (600 - 1200w) or fridge (200-300w, but with a startup spike of maybe 500-1000w)