Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Aftermath of the Pineapple Express.........

My shift ended last night at midnight although I guess I was a few minutes later than that when I finally checked out. The mens' department was a mess so getting it "recovered" for today's sales day was a hectic, stressful ordeal with that midnight deadline hanging over my head and it must have been that way in the other apparel departments as well because all of us were running like little mice frantically preparing their families for a storm. Little did we know the storm was indeed outside brewing, just waiting for us to get off work.

I drove the 15 minutes to home watching the winds grow with each mile. As I neared the main intersection in Graham, blue flashing lights flew through the traffic light making my heart leap. A feeling of foreboding filled the air.

By the time I reached home, the winds were so strong, I could hardly stand to get the gate open to my farm. Strong gusts battered me into the fence as I tried to secure the gate so my car could pass through. I quickly parked my car, closed the gate and as I returned to the house I saw a flash of light overhead. Lightning? Power station exploding? Too busy to give it much thought, I hurried myself into the house bracing myself against the strongest winds I've encountered in a while.

I didn't even have my coat off when the roof exploded with the sound of the torrential rains. Hail pelted the windows on the south side of the house (an experience I don't think we've encountered the entire time we lived here) as Mother Nature released her vengeance on western Washington. Dave looked at me and gasped making reference to the timing of my arrival. I had just beaten one h*ll of a storm.

Delilah howled wanting to get to me for comfort but David grabbed her to save my dress slacks from her long silver hair. I headed into the bedroom to shed them so I could comfort both dogs. Before I'd gotten my shoes off the lights flickered and then died. The power was out and the storm was just getting started.

Lightning light up the night skies and thunder cracked. Thunder storms are not common in this area of the country so they're pretty unnerving. With no warning for this kind of storm we were not prepared with flashlights or oil lamps so Dave and I both scrambled to find something so we could see. Once we rounded up flashlights so we could see to prepare for bed we both tried to get some sleep.

I remember laying in bed and wondering what in the heck was happening. This is just not the kind of storm we have in winter in western Washington. I kept thinking about the concerns of the local National Weather Service workers for unknown weather extremes in our area this year.

Today there was a tornado in Aumsville, Oregon today. This article is from the Tacoma News Tribune about the event.

There is also a tornado warning for western Washington until 10 PM tonight although there's not a word about that on the local news. Tornado threat in Western Washington Dec 14. This article is posted by a storm follower for the National Weather Service.

In addition to this article I've heard, though still not officially, there was a tornado that touched down in western Washington during that after midnight storm last night. Looking at the lumber yard destroyed in Maple Valley it does bear resemblance to tornado damage I have seen. The weather I experienced as I got home from work eerily resembles my experience with a tornado in Denver.

I can't help but wonder what is coming next. These pictures were taken just before sunset tonight at our continually growing creek. I would say at this point about a fifth of our place is currently under water and the water is still rising. The Pineapple Express might be gone but her aftermath may not be over yet.

I apologize for the dark photos. It looked lighter outside to me than this but I guess the camera does not lie. I'll try to get some earlier in the day tomorrow so I can better show you the flooding. In a couple of these pictures the water goes back at least 100 feet. Normally our little creek is maybe six feet at its widest part.

Our horses are dry. I cannot say that for the neighbors although the horse does have a dry place accessible. When I took the last picture the horse was in water over its hocks but didn't seem to be in any trouble despite the fast moving water.


  1. Just keep telling yourself...it's better than 18" of Objectionable White Stuff!

    Darling's jump course is nothing but water obstacles right now. You can't walk anywhere without your feet getting wet, unless you're in muck boots. Tika's stall has a puddle...it's coming up through the floor. I'm waiting for a dry day...

    We had a freezing rain storm blow in this morning here. Driving down the road and next thing I know there's a half inch of hail being dumped on me and the ground. People were slipping and sliding all over I-5.

    When is summer coming back?

  2. Absolutely flabbergasted today when I heard that Marion and Clackamas county were under a tornado warning. Unbelievable!

  3. Tracey, I hate to remind either of us of this but it's not even officially winter yet. I'm afraid that summer is a long long way off unfortunately. All I can say is I'm beginning to think maybe Dave should look into that job in Texas.

    wilsonc, well, at least the powers that be told you guys you had tornado warnings in place. Here you had to look on the National Weather Service radar weather map to see we had them in place. That's pretty bad.

    Even at that I was shocked to hear about the damage in Marion county. The only good news about this tornado is it was a class 0. Last I heard no one was seriously hurt and I hope it stays that way. A couple of peeled off roofs are minor stuff when you think about lives that could be lost.

  4. Oh my goodness! hope it is over and the weather settles, stay safe!

  5. Glad you made it home in time to hunker down and that you're all safe! The Aumsville tornado turned out to be a class EF-2! VERY RARE in Oregon.

  6. Wow, glad yall are all ok! What a storm!

  7. we lost power for 18 hours which meant no heat, no tv, no phone, no internet, and no wii, my parents' favorite thing.

    as i lay in bed i heard three big trees fall. that is such a terrifying sound!

    we got the generator going to get some heat on in the afternoon.

    i was excited about camping in the house so i cooked breakfast outside on the bbq. then we ate it by coleman lantern with our heavy coats on at the dining room table.

    we had to drive to albertsons in the dark to get coffee, and branches were all over the streets and a power line was down in the road.

    it took them so long to get our power back it was ridiculous.

    we won't have comcast cable until tomorrow, can you believe that?

    at least the wii is working again, ha!