Weather Blog

By damage, Monday's windstorm was worst since '06

By damage, Monday's windstorm was worst since '06
A tree is seen toppled on a car in Gig Harbor, Wash. on Monday, Nov. 15, 2010.

If it seems like it had been a while since a windstorm wreaked so much havoc around here, you would be right. According to PEMCO's Storm Index ratings, Monday's storm was indeed the worst since the mega "Hanukkah Eve" storm from Dec. 14, 2006.

But still, relatively speaking, Monday's storm would be considered minor.

Here are the top 14 wind storms by damage since their Storm Index began in 1984:

  1. Dec. 14, 2006 (Hanukkah Eve Storm)
  2. Jan. 20, 1993 (Inauguration Day Storm)
  3. Jan. 3-9, 1990
  4. Dec. 4, 2003
  5. Dec. 12, 1995
  6. Nov. 16, 1991
  7. Feb. 4, 2006
  8. Jan. 8, 1990
  9. March 3, 1999
  10. Dec. 13, 2001
  11. March 30, 1997
  12. Jan. 16, 2000
  13. Jan. 16, 1986
  14. Nov. 15, 2010

The Storm Index began in 1984 as the insurer's way of measuring storms' strengths based on insurance claims, and each is adjusted into current year's dollar valuation. They say so far, Monday's storm has created about $979,000 in damage to PEMCO, whereas the Dec. 14, 2006 storm had $27 million in damage when you adjust a little for inflation. Th insurance company says while they received claims across the state, the southwestern region was hit hardest, with most claims involving toppled trees and roof damage.

Meteorologically Speaking, Storm Wasn't All That And A Bag of Chips

As far as wind speeds go, Monday's storm wasn't that overly impressive. We've seen gusts like that many times before . In fact, Monday's storm wasn't all too much different than the wind event we had on May 2 which only knocked out power to 24,000.

Why? Because it was the first one of the season.

Ted Buehner with the National Weather Service gives these three reasons:

"1) Last winter's El Nino resulted in rather tranquil weather with no real wind storm event. 2) The wet spring resulted in a lot of tree growth this summer (yes, we did have summer!). 3) Sept was the 3rd wettest on record, Oct was 2 inches above normal, and Nov so far is about 2/3rds of an inch above average. So the soils are wetter than normal."

He says given the above with all the wet soils and extra tree material our season's first 'blow' would be nature's tree trimmer and that is what happened Monday evening.

"All the weak tree material came down - on power lines, and even a few weak trees came down pulling power lines and a few poles down," Buehner said.

Now that most of the weakest trees/branches have been thinned from the herd, the region is in much better shape to weather 40-50 mph winds, and we are seeing that proof on Wednesday.

Peak Gusts From Storm

Official NWS Stations:
Arlington 28 mph
Bellingham 35 mph
Boeing Field 35 mph
Everett /Paine Field 38 mph
Friday Harbor 38 mph
Hoquiam 36 mph
Olympia 45 mph
Port Angeles 47 mph
Quillayute 45 mph
Seattle (Sand Point) 32 mph
Seattle (Sea-Tac) 50 mph
Shelton 49 mph
Tacoma 51 mph
Whidbey Island NAS 61 mph

National Weather Service potter reports and Mesowest gusts
Anacortes 57 mph
Chehalis 35 mph
Eedgewater beach 45 mph
Issaquah 54 mph
North Bend 60 mph
Port Angeles 60 mph
Sandy Point 55 mph
Tulalip 58 mph

Mountain observations gusts:
Humptulips 71 mph
Hurricane Ridge 54 mph
Mount Baker 54 mph
Mt. Rainier (Camp Muir) 111 mph
Mt. Rainier (Paradise) 70 mph
Snoqualmie Pass 93 mph
Stevens Pass 78 mph
White Pass (NWAC) 112 mph

Marine observations gusts
Alki Point 56 mph
Buoy 088 54 mph
Destruction Island 42 mph
Pt. No Point 44 mph
Race Rocks 62 mph
Tatoosh Island56 mph
West Point 46 mph
Point Wilson 64 mph