Massive power outage == Adventure Friday (posthumously blogged 12/16 when my server is back up) …


As we woke up Friday morning, our bedrooms had that certain
briskness in the air that indicates only one thing … power
outage.  Nika (a friend/roommate) and his kid went to school to see if
there is any school, power out there too.  We got a hold of
another friend, Mary & Tony (Tony also works at Microsoft), power
out at thier house and Microsoft.  As we were listening to the news
and driving around we got to get the idea that pretty much everything
was down, and it turned from “huh, I wonder if work is going to come up” day into Adventure Day lets see
where power is, and find a warm place for Nika and Mary and the kids …

Some data:

  • As of Friday morning, reportedly 1.3 M customers (is that homes/businesses or people I could never tell) were without power.
    • We
      heard there were multiple hospitals without grid power, and at this
      point you realize how far your work (even if it is Microsoft) is like down the priority list.
    • News also said 80% of Bellevue was without power.
    • PSE specifically had 700k down (the area that services my house) of ~1M customers.
      • Some 90 of 150 substations were down.
      • And 80 transmission line (over 1/2 of such lines) were damaged.
    • Apparently they’ve flown/flying in 100+ repair crews from other states.
  • We saw literally dozens of fallen trees close to our house …
    • some of the streets were practically green with blown off tree branches. 
    • We ended up driving over the tops of 4 or so trees fallen across the road.
    • A house about 6 doors down, had a tree through its roof.
    • Along
      one road going by Microsoft we saw 7 down trees within a few
      blocks (I’m sure there is a [un]fair joke there at Microsoft’s expense … 😉
  • Gusts to 60 – 80 mph in the general area during the wind storm on Thur night / Fri AM.

I love stats, but I don’t think any of these put it in as much
perspective as the traffic flow maps (which I figured out were a GREAT
way to figure out if an area likely has power!), here is the seattle
area map @~noon
today.  Yesterday however was an even more severe
story:


Since you can differentiate from No Equipment and No Data, we
guessed No Data meant, No Power.  Nearly everything was out for I
dunno, maybe 50 miles (including all of
Microsoft’s main campus that we heard about) of solid residential
setting.  We drove for about
20 miles (which took 1.5 hours) without seeing a single spot of power
that morning as we maneuvered North around the lake to get to friends
w/ power/heat.  That’s how massive it was …

The funniest stories of the day …

Eric
went for a walk, came by my house (ironically while we were knocking on
his door to see if he wanted to go North to heat with us :P) and Tony’s
house. Anyway, while he was at Tony’s house he saw a crew clearing a
tree from the
road.  Now Tony’s house was fine, but clearly one of the wires to
his
house was slack and low hanging over the road, pulled down by I believe
some blown off branch in the middle of the night.  After the tree
was cleared from the road, Eric saw a Comcast Cable truck try to sneak
under it, and caught it on their ladder or roof rack, and nearly rip it
off the pole. The two guys got out of the van, looked up at the pole /
wire, and this was the approximate gist of the conversation:

    Guy 1: “Awww crap … its cable.”

    Guy 2:  “We should probably fix that.”

Tony later came home and found them fixing his cable … my they can be
expedient … of course they couldn’t check it worked, no power.

The
other funny story, was a news story (I tried to find it at the
KiroTV.com web site, but couldn’t, their site sucks for finding stuff
you know you read there), about a guy who had _ten_ trees
hit his house!  My friends and I agreed this must clearly be an
evil man.  If God[1] throws 10 trees at your house, he is sending
you a message, STOP that bad thing we all know you are doing, and mend
your ways, or
you will get smote.

We
later got to validate that indeed the traffic maps were the best
foreteller of power, because we heard on the news that Bellevue Square
Mall was out, but Lincoln Center across the street had power …
however according to the downtown Bellevue traffic flow map,
power was
out at Lincoln Center and came back 1 block to the East … later we
went there to see a movie, and indeed Lincoln Center had only some sort
of
emergency lighting on, but not real power, such as to see a movie, but
enough for Nika to play thier Grand Piano, which then security got VERY
PISSY about, I think he thought we were young holigans or something,
but Nika actually knows how to play pleasant Nordstrom style / elevator back
ground music …
luckily the Galleria (which is coincidentally one block to the East 😉
had power, so we were not thwarted in our movie quest!  We saw,
“Bobby”, it was a bit slow but ok.

It was rumored (though don’t know it was actually true) said there were only
like 3 working gas stations in downtown Bellevue (that’s the green near
the yellow camera and bellevue sign in the map), and we heard police had to
be deployed to keep order at one point, and direct traffic … they at
one point had sectioned off the street for several blocks to the south, just to create a
line into the gas station, and the wait was apparently ridiculous.  This wasn’t a problem for us because we decided to wait
until after our movie (@ midnight Sat) before visiting, so we
ended up waiting maybe 10 minutes.

The
# of customers (or people?) dropped to 900k without power by the end of
Friday, according to the news.  Lastly when we came home that night, we checked our mailbox, and
indeed some US Postal mail was there, hows the motto go, “neither rain, nor
sleet, nor snow…” … well they should add wind if it isn’t there already.  Apparently our Govenor declared a
state of emergency
, I think today / saturday.

Cheers,

BrettSh (msft) 

[1] Not that I do or don’t believe in God, I’m just saying …TEN TREES!?

Update: MartinC showed me that wsdot has historical data, so I replaced my own previously doctored version with the actual map at 11:20 AM on Friday, it is even more
effective at showing what it looks like to have 1.3 M customers without power.

Comments (2)

  1. Brett,

    Brad (Rutkowski) just passed along the url to your blog entry. (I just heard back from Stuart, Levon, Greg et. al. as well). It’s indeed comforting to hear that you’re all safe and doing fine.

    It’s incredible how (mother) nature can render human beings powerlesss (;pun intended.) Also, with trees falling left and right, I hope our (Microsoft’s) (AD) forest survivied the storm.

    We all hope life comes back to normal soon for all of you up in beautiful Seattle!

    Best wishes,

    Sanjay

    PS: May the festive season bring much needed cheer all across town.

  2. オ○ニーライフのお手伝い、救援部でHな見せたがり女性からエロ写メ、ムービーをゲットしよう!近所の女の子なら実際に合ってHな事ができちゃうかも!?夏で開放的になっている女の子と遊んじゃおう