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Grandma C's
December 2006 Storm
On the night of December 14, 2006, gale winds raged across the Pacific Northwest, with gusts over 100mph,
following an afternoon of heavy rain, which followed a fall of repeated heavy rains.  The ground was soaked. 
Trees fell.  Power went out for more than 1 million homes & businesses.  This is the tale of how Grandma C's
family home stood up to the biggest storm since the record breaking Inaugeration Day Storm of 1993.

In December of 1949, Grandma C's parents, Percy & Clarice, bought a waterfront home on Lake Washington. In January 1950, Seattle suffered a rare blizzard, freezing the shallows around the lake shore.
But that is another story.


The original house was an old hunting and fishing cabin that had been built before any roads on the east side of Lake Washington. Back then, the property was only accessible by
boat or horseback.


In 1954, Grandma C & Grandad bought the property from Percy and In 1960 they thinned some of the forrest and built a new, Northwest Contemporary home in front of the original old cabin.

In summer 2001, Don undertook to build Grandma C's dream garden, which included a waterfall and stream down the left side of the house and a rockery across the whole front.

During the next spring and summer,
Don and Steve completed the garden plantings in preparation for Laurie's August wedding. 

By 2005, the plantings had matured into a lovely garden, still shaded by many of the original tall evergreen trees, which also partially hid the I-90 freeway's East Channel Bridge.

Those stately trees made it a
pleasant, semi-secluded place ...

... where family could enjoy
swimming and boating ...

... as well as relaxing, playing and picnicing in the garden.

Later that summer the new neighbors to the southeast, clear cut all their beautiful tall trees in preparation for building a huge, new mega-house.

When the December 14th storm hit,
our southeasterly trees were now unprotected from the full force of the 100mph gusts, howling up the East Channel of the lake.

Shortly after midnight, the most southerly tree came crashing down .
It nicked a corner of the roof, but did amazingly little damage and broke no windows, even as branches came to rest against the glass.
After a tentative sigh of relief  for the house's narrow escape, Grandma C chose to ride out the remainder
of the storm in her livingroom,
because 3 more tall trees swirled ominously in the raging wind  
just outside her bedroom window.

With the loss of the first tree, the next most southerly tree was all alone
and even more vulnerable.

15 minutes later it too came crashing down, right onto the livingroom roof over Grandma C's head!


Grandma C was very lucky that they
had built a very sturdy house in 1960. The living room corner & Don's sturdy deck took the full weight of the tree.

The beautiful planted rockery was burried under layers of branches ...


... but the deck railing held true
even as tree debris covered the yard.


The deck roof was not so lucky. 
The second tree was firmly cradled
in the deck roof, just outside the
livingroom sliding door.


The view of the East Channel Bridge from the deck was now wide open,
but no windows broke and the livingroom ceiling suffered ...


only a modest crack.

The top of the second tree ...

... raised up from the flat roof...

... like a toppled ship's mast.

The tree removal crew ...

... with courage and skill ...

... took down that precarious trunk ...

... piece by careful piece ...

... controlling each chunk with ropes.

The roof will need repair, but the
deck was barely scratched.

The Japanese maple below the deck was burried beneath fir boughs but escaped unscathed and the remaining plants and rockery survived with only minor damage.


Sadly, the open space created by the loss of those wonderful fir trees, not only destroys the artistic symmetry of this once very wooded landscape but also leaves a void in our hearts.
( See Before the storm again )


Yet even in these stormy times,
we stop in our tracks to observe
with awe the raw beauty
of the nature around us.
(Mt Rainier, 2 days after the storm)

Seattle PI StormWatch          Previous Pacific Northwest Storms         Inauguration Day Storm - Jan 1993
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© Peggy Garber, January 2007