The '96 Winter Storm

96 Winter Storm

Rosalie was with me with me through Christmas and most of the 1996 Winter Storm.

We were both sick (temperatures of +101 on Christmas day...) so it wasn't like we were going anywhere, anyway. Kinda no big deal, but it got real tedious...

  • We had no electricity for over five days; it didn't come on until New Year's eve afternoon, well after she had left for her mom's

  • We had wood heat, and water, but we couldn't flush the toilets very often (at all..) because we've got a pumped septic system

  • We had lots of candles, and an oil lamp, and flashlights and a portable radio

  • We played lots of poker, cribbage, and Monopoly

  • And cooked on the wood stove

  • And went to bed pretty much when it got dark (around 4:45), and got up well after it was light (at around 8:00)

...and we waited.

The real problems were the temperature (in the 20's), a hard north wind that roared straight across Puget Sound right into our house and the northeast side of Vashon Island we live on, and the ice storm that hit after the first snow storm.

The ice caked everything that was already covered with snow, and the weight brought down hundreds of trees.

['96 Storm]

After we were able to get out, it turned out that these trees down closest to our home were only a drop in the bucket.

The only road out (we're about 8/10ths of a mile up a dead-end..) was cleared of fallen trees by neighbors on Saturday, after the first blast, but it never got plowed by the County up where we are until New Year's day, so every time it snowed we were more stuck.

['96 Storm]
['96 Storm]

I blew up my tire chains in a totally symbolic attempt to get the car out of the garage on (when? Sunday? Monday?) - but it was pointless because we never would have gotten up our driveway anyway.

The power was fixed by a crew down from some tiny town in British Columbia - we never saw Puget Power.

The guys had to hand-carry all their equipment in because the road was impassable from the snow: the closest they could get their trucks was nearly a quarter-mile away - and it's not flat! - and there are houses for another quarter-mile past where we are.

They appeared late Saturday and came back Sunday mid-morning and got power on to our immediate next-door neighbor, and then they left and disappeared, and nobody worked on our power for over thirty more hours!

That's when Rosalie's mom and I decided she should hike in and get Rosalie out and down to part of the Island where there was power.

Anyway, I kept seed out for the birds, (here: a lone Oregon Junco...) and the power guys finally reappeared late New Year's eve afternoon and got me going!

['96 Storm]

First thing I did was take a shower.

Didn't even wait for the hot water heater to warm up, much...

The County plowed the road 24 hours later, on New Year's day.

And that was the '96 Winter Storm..


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