One very windy night

Mark Seberson, a Navy flight engineer, was awakened at 3:30 a.m. Friday by a large tree that crashed into his house. Cutting it away from the house is Eli Walton (with chainsaw) of Pioneer Tree Service. - Jim Larsen
Mark Seberson, a Navy flight engineer, was awakened at 3:30 a.m. Friday by a large tree that crashed into his house. Cutting it away from the house is Eli Walton (with chainsaw) of Pioneer Tree Service.
— image credit: Jim Larsen

Mark Seberson though it was windy flying around Whidbey Island in a P-3 Orion Thursday night, but the storm didn’t really hit home until a tree hit his home early Friday morning.

“I was flying last night and it was pretty bumpy up there,” said the flight engineer stationed with P-3 squadron VP-1.

By 3:30 a.m. Friday, Seberson, 31, was thinking about trucks, not airplanes. “It sounded like a truck hitting the house,” he said, describing a large fir tree whose roots had upended, sending the tree crashing onto the roof above the kitchen.

“There was a very loud crash,” he said. “I checked the dog first.” The dog was safe in the laundry room, but the kitchen skylight was broken and drywall from the ceiling was scattered around the floor. The tree narrowly missed the chimney.

Segerson called his landlord, retired Navy chaplain Don Junkin who lives in Bremerton, and then Pioneer Home Maintenance Tree Service. By 10 a.m. Friday they were at work removing the tree and wreckage from the home, located on Robertson Drive in the Highlands West development. A nearby house had two tall firs leaning against it, but no apparent serious damage. The ground in the area was saturated with water, and the trees fell easy victim to the high winds.

The Whidbey Island storm downed trees and cut power to many residences, result of high winds and gusts. Power was lost in places from north to south.

Up to 2,000 Puget Sound Energy customers lost power in scattered outages on North Whidbey from Greenbank to Deception Pass, said Kathy Larson, a PSE spokeswoman. Electricity to those customers was still out on Friday morning, while seven crews and two tree crews from PSE worked to restore power.

The outages were caused by broken tree limbs coming into contact with power lines, Larson said. There were no downed poles or spans of wire.

The maximum sustained wind was clocked at 42 mph overnight, with gusts as high as 62 mph, said a duty forecaster at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station’s Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Detachment.

The winds were accompanied by rain showers, which reportedly were heavy from about 2 to 3 a.m..

The higher winds started at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, the forecaster said, and were continuing mid-Friday morning with gusts of about 44 mph.

The winds tapered off on Friday afternoon, but are expected to kick up again on Saturday, with gusts as high as 36 mph.

Segerson was one of many islanders cleaning up storm damage on Friday, which turned out to be partly sunny.

Barbara Fuentes lives on Peacock Lane off Fort Nugent Road and on Friday morning discovered a large limb lying across her 1989 mint condition Lincoln. The 7to 8 foot long limb crushed the roof of the classic car and broke a window.

Mary Dale lives in a mobile home near Monroe Landing on Highway 20. At 2:30 a.m. Friday she was awakened by a terrible noise. Daylight revealed that a 60-foot long strip of gutter and downspout had been ripped off one side of the house and deposited on the other. “Up and over the roof and on the other side, just like Santa Claus and his sleigh,” she said.

Some islanders, at least, were able to keep their sense of humor.

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