Last Monday, most of the Puget Sound region was hit with a moderate windstorm. Downed trees and widespread power outages were experienced. Here on South Fidalgo Island, it remained calm all day. This is because the winds were from the west. We are sheltered from storms blowing from the west and north.
It was our turn on Wednesday. This time the winds blew from the south, and that puts us directly in the line of fire. Typically, Pacific low pressure systems like to move in over Vancouver Island in Canada. This draws the winds right up the Puget Sound basin between the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. This was the case on Wednesday delivering sustained winds in the 20's mph (~40 kph) with gusts to 35 mph/58 kph. Of course, these are moderate winds by any standard, but enough to do a little damage.
Douglas Fir trees will protect themselves by sacrificing some of their limbs to the wind:
By giving up a few limbs, the entire tree usually won't be blown down. This often leaves my yard, roof and decks littered with the debris from the trees. Once in a while, a large limb will do some damage:
For some reason, my Japanese Andromedas (Pieris japonica) seem to be limb magnets. This was a big, beautiful shrub which anchored the small garden at the top of the driveway. In the spring, flaming, red new growth would literally glow in this shady spot. These are cousins of Rhododendrons and this is the fourth Pieris in my yard damaged by windfall. Most of the Rhody next to it was also taken out...
...and this is the culprit that did all the damage:
Between October and January, we can expect a couple of these storms to roll through each week. Now, coming up this weekend, we are anticipating our own special version of a nor'easter. More on that later.