Cleanup begins as W. Wash. recovers from storms

Cleanup begins as W. Wash. recovers from storms
The wreckage left by this week's snow, ice and winds have left a major mess in many areas around the Puget Sound.

Fallen trees created much of the damage, ripping out power lines and smashing cars as they landed.

Everywhere across the region, people were out cleaning up the debris - and nervous about the damage that could still come, with more strong winds in the forecast for Sunday.

The weight of ice and snow toppled even the biggest of trees. One monster fell onto power lines in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood - taking a power pole and electrical lines with it.

"There were branches breaking, the wind was blowing, ice dropping," said one woman who lives in the neighborhood.

In Auburn, neighbors like Mike McMillan and his family are spending their weekend cleaning up what the storm unleashed. But their biggest concern is the stuff that hasn't fallen - yet.

"It was too dangerous to leave it go the way it was, so I had to come out here and clean it up," says McMillan. "A lot of cracked and broken branches everywhere."

Huge limbs fell dangerously close to Dana Preston's house. The limbs knocked out the power - but like the McMillan family, Preston worries about the danger from above.

"Right now we've got trees that are waiting for branches to fall because they're broken and caught up in the trees," Preston says.

High winds early Saturday morning triggered more problems, ripping down branches already weakened by the ice storm. And more wind is in the forecast.

As KOMO News crews, visited one neighborhood after another, it was astounding just how much wood had fallen - and equally astounding how little serious damage they saw.

There were plenty of trees and branches heavy enough to break roofs and crush cars - and just sheer good luck that most of them fell the other way.

"We got really lucky. We're blessed that nothing bad happened to our home or our family," says Kristin McMillan.

But not everyone was so lucky. In Auburn, one resident was out surveying the damage to his SUV from a fallen tree. And others had similar experiences across the region.

Utility workers say there are millions of pounds of debris on the ground from the storm - and plenty more, just waiting to fall.

On the east side of Lake Washington, troubles continued on the road and at home.

Highway 18 south near Interstate 90 finally reopned after two days of clearing and closures, and Highway 202 north of there should also be free-flowing by Saturday night.

People are digging out, too, as power slowly comes back.

Downed power lines and cracked tree limbs continue to dominate the back roads in the Issaquah area.

Farther south, in Mirrormont, the Curdi family has been like many - running on generator power for days. After busting out the chainsaw to trim down the fallen branches and trunks, the power finally came back on.

Life will almost be back to normal soon.

"Serious cleanup," says Kathleen Curdi. "No more sitting upstairs doing crafts all day. We have to get to work. We have a huge mess."

Strong winds in the Sunday forecast still make a lot of the roads vulnerable - and any trees that may have been hanging on are in more danger of falling than before.