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kenmore

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Songda turned out to be a bust, and I feel fine

So it turned out that the predicted storm on Saturday was way, way less intense than the forecasters were saying. Enough that KOMO’s weather guy and Cliff Mass both posted embarrassed commentary along the lines of “yep, we pooched this one big time, sorry about that!”

From news articles I saw go up on Sunday, a lot of people took to Twitter to complain about this, particularly in re: how they got emergency supplies for nothing. To some degree I sympathize with that. It is annoying to be told by local officials “OH SHIT BIG STORM COMING IN EVERYBODY GET READY”, only to have that not actually happen.

But on the other hand, I also feel that this is actually the far preferable scenario. If the forecasters are going to fuck up a forecast, I would much rather have it be “far better than expected” rather than the other way around. Mr. Mass and his compatriots are getting shit for screwing this up, sure, but they’d be getting a lot more shit if they’d been all “okay, garden-variety storm coming in” and it turns out to be “OH SHIT WORST STORM IN 54 YEARS”.

And honestly, it ain’t like we aren’t going to have more storms. Those emergency supplies everybody went out and got? We’ll be using them sooner or later. Probably sooner, for those of us in Kenmore. The 2016 storm season has only just started and I am positive Kenmore will lose power at least once more before the end of the year. My house did in fact go out for about 11 hours, from Friday afternoon to just before 1am Saturday morning, even if we held steady on Saturday night. Other locations in Kenmore did go out during Saturday’s bluster, too, as I saw on the PSE Outage Map.

Mr. Mass’s last post did include some chagrined acknowledgement that while he did try to communicate that there was uncertainty in how the storm would play out, and that any little deviation in its track could dramatically change the impact on Seattle, he clearly didn’t communicate that well enough. So here’s hoping that he and his local weather colleagues can come up with a good game plan to make that happen next time we have a potential severe weather situation.

Because it never hurts to be aware of the worst case scenario, even if that worst case scenario never materializes. Better data about how probable that scenario will be, though, will help us all make the proper judgment calls on how we plan our responses.

So hang in there, Puget Sound area weather people! Many sympathies for the difficulties of your job! And hopefully this is the worst that the 2016 storm season will throw us.

Main

Opening act is done, headliner is on the way

Those of you who follow me on social media, or who saw the posts that went up on angelahighland.wordpress.com, LJ, and Dreamwidth last night, know we lost power around 2:30 yesterday afternoon. We were down all evening, but at least as of right now, we’re back.

How Are You?

How Are You?

Yesterday evening, we amused ourselves with playing around with instruments and with listening to one of the Big Finish audio adventures off my phone, piped through a Bluetooth speaker. The Cloisters of Terror turned out to be a delightful thing to listen to during a power outage! In no small part because Mr. Baker was in fine form in that story.

Here are the sorts of conversations we have in our house when the power is out!

Dara (while trying to figure out the chord progression for a song): OMG this chart doesn’t HAVE an A flat! They just skipped it!

Me (nodding sagely): ‘What damn fool would want to play an A flat chord on a bouzouki?’

And also:

Me: Okay good chiro has power. So I will go out tomorrow and bring back any necessary things. Be thinking about necessary things I can bring back.

Dara: Electricity! 4 buckets of electricity!

Paul: I think the fridge is going to need more than 4 buckets.

Dara: Okay, 6 buckets! Go to Costco.

George, bless his little kitty heart, kept wandering around mewing in a sort of “EVERYTHING IS DARK AND WEIRD AND QUIET WHY IS IT LIKE THIS AND WHY ARE YOU ALL IN THIS OTHER ROOM OH HEY THE FIRE IS ON YAY WARM”. And once we settled in to listen to the audio, George curled up in front of the fireplace to go zzzzzzzz.

I went to bed around 10:30ish and woke up just before 1am when the noise of the neighbors’ generators shut up. I sleepily realized the clock was blinking, checked the time on the phone (which I was keeping by our bed), and noted 12:54. So our power must have come back just a few minutes before that, long enough for neighbors to go YAY and turn their generators off.

Dara brought the servers back up this morning, and I scampered out to go to chiro and Safeway and the booze store (so that I could replenish the cake vodka and Baileys supply, and OH BY THE WAY YOU GUYS, I did find another bottle of Pumpkin Spice Baileys, which is an actual thing that exists and you should try it if those are words that sound like fun to you). Dara is heading out now that I’m home again, as the Norwescon concom has a meeting today, and they kinda can’t cancel it, because it’s at the hotel and they’re contractually obligated to use the rooms when they’re booked for. But she’s going to scamper back here ASAP when the meeting is done.

As of this writing Seattle City Light has a mere 11 customers out. Puget Sound Energy has 5,125 down still. And I gotta say, cranky as I am that PSE has been so random in our power service this year, their crews were out last night working their asses off. And that we got power back in the dead of night means their crews were out there in the wet dark, working for us. So kudos to them for that.

The current High Wind Warning is supposed to kick in at 3pm this afternoon and run until 2am, with the peak winds now expected between 5pm and 10pm. Cliff Mass has his current forecast up here, and from what he’s saying, the storm is still aiming for north of us, but we’ll be on the very edge of it. Seattle proper may dodge a bullet, but chances are high that Kenmore will get hit harder. And even if damaging winds don’t smack us, chances are VERY high we will lose power again, possibly for days. Expect that angelahighland.com will go down again, in which case I will continue to post updates on angelahighland.wordpress.com as well.

And given that the wind conditions yesterday still caused quite a lot of damage (note the gallery of pics on the Seattle Times’ updates here, PARTICULARLY the snapped power pole), I’m still expecting things to be very, very messy tonight and into tomorrow.

Brace for impact, Cascadians. Charge all your devices. Do your laundry while you still have power. Songda is COMING.

The Murkworks

An overview of power outages at the Murkworks

Last night our power came back on, just after 11pm. So then I took the time to go back through my social media history, just to find all the various times where I’ve posted alerts about our power going down. This is what I found.

August 2015

Y’all may recall that last August we had an early season windstorm. That hit on the 29th, which caused us to lose power that morning. I posted at 9:37am that we were down, and again by 10:29am the following morning that we were back.

November 2015

Another windstorm. Outage start as reported by me was 2:35pm on the 17th, and we came back around 12:59pm on the 18th.

March 2016

We went down for a short time on the 12th, from roughly 2:43pm to 3:51pm. Cause unknown. What was particularly annoying was that this was even before the windstorm hit that month, so we were up pretty much just in time to go back down again.

Because we had another windstorm roll in on the 13th. We had a lot of flickery power that afternoon and evening until we finally went down around 9:25pm. We were back around 7:12am the following morning.

June 2016

Incident on the 19th that started around 12:52pm and ended around 5:05pm. Cause unknown.

Another incident on the 30th which, for once, didn’t actually impact our house. But it did impact 1,814 customers in Kenmore, and it impacted Dara anyway because the power went out while she was at the car wash. Which made it rather difficult for her to finish washing the Raptor.

July 2016

Outage on the 5th. I was not home at the time, and Dara warned me by text at 9:24am that we were out. Dara estimates we were down about four hours. Cause unknown.

August 2016

Outage on the 31st that impacted 2,194 customers in Kenmore. Duration from 10:27am to 2:01pm. Cause unknown.

September 2016

Last but not least, the latest incident. According to this article by the Seattle Times, this outage was caused by a tree falling on a power line in Redmond. The damage this falling tree caused then impacted four, count ’em, four substations and took out power for over 18,000 people.

I also saw this tweet from KOMO News:

However, this is the only source I have that mentions a brush fire, and I couldn’t find any article on komonews.com with more details. So I don’t know what their source for the “brush fire” report was.

Final tally

That’s a total of nine, count ’em, nine separate power incidents in just over a year. Seven in 2016 alone.

The windstorm-related ones I can forgive, ’cause, y’know, severe weather and all that. The rest, I’m crankier about. Because okay, yeah, sure, I’m not a civil engineer or an electrical engineer. But it seems to me that one tree falling shouldn’t take out power for 18,000 people.

And Seattle City Light, whose area of coverage also includes a lot of trees, somehow manages to not lose power SEVEN TIMES IN ONE YEAR.

Not that I’m bitter or anything no wait yes I AM bitter. Because Dara and I are paying Puget Sound Energy to provide us power. I think it’s a reasonable expectation for them to do their damn jobs and keep the lights on.

Dara’s already sent cranky mail to our state representatives and the Kenmore city council. I will be looking into doing the same. Because this is stupid.

And the only reason we don’t have a generator yet is money. We have to budget for it, given that we’re having to pay a great deal of money for roof renovation at MurkSouth this year, so the generator has to wait a little longer. But it’s important to note here that Dara and I are actually in an income bracket that can afford a generator. PSE’s coverage area includes a lot of affluent communities where a lot of the residents can say the same. But this is not universal. And if we couldn’t afford a generator at all, now or after budgeting for it, we’d be screwed.

I have to be grateful that not only can we afford to budget for a generator, neither of us have health issues that would be impacted by repeated incidents of power loss. But there must surely be customers in PSE’s coverage area that do have such issues. And this track record out of PSE puts those customers at risk.

But yeah, we’ll be budgeting for that generator as soon as the roof’s done and dealt with. And I’m going to look into setting up a minimal mirror site for angelahighland.com up on WordPress.com. After multiple incidents of power outages happening while I’m trying to run sales on my books, I need to have reliably stable places I can actually point ads at when I’m trying to encourage sales.

If anyone reading me is also in PSE’s coverage area, I encourage you to take the time to write up how many recent outage incidents have impacted you. Communicate it to your city councilpeople and our state reps. Because this is stupid. And it needs to stop.