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Weather runs amok, gives good lessons

SCANDIA — Heavy winds and torrential rainfall the last two weeks were an inconvenience for some, a little more than that for others.

For Dwight and Paulene Droz of Scandia, it was the latter.

At about 2 p.m. Oct. 16, Dwight and Paulene (91 and 85, respectively) got a first-hand experience of the wind’s might when a mature tree in their yard was felled by gusts. The tree missed the couple’s vehicles and garage, but took down their power and telephone lines.

“Oh my goodness it made the most awful sound,” Paulene recalled of the incident.

Dwight is an avid writer, having produced several volumes of “Culture on the Cuff,” about his days growing up in a small Idaho town. At the time the tree fell, Dwight was working on his newest book “Midnight Poet,” which is due out in November.

“I’ve got all my writing on my computer and I thought this was going to take it all,” he commented. “We sure had a whomp. I thought everything was going to blow up.”

It turned out that only Dwight’s surge protector had been damaged in the power outage. Once he replaced it, he was back in business.

The Drozes were just a few of the people caught unaware by heavy rains and gusting winds last week. The National Weather Service reported winds up to 60 miles per hour in some parts of the Kitsap Peninsula and rainfall of more than 5 inches in some areas on Monday.

Rains were so strong that the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management declared a state of emergency at about 4:15 p.m. Oct. 20.

Laura Jull, Public Education and Information Officer for the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management, said it is nearly impossible to predict when something like a fallen tree will take place in extreme weather. Nevertheless, there are certain steps everyone can take to prepare themselves for winter weather’s wrath.

It is always recommended that residents keep a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water. For necessary items like prescription medication, a seven-day supply is recommended. Additional items suggested to have on hand during severe winter-type weather include:

• A flashlight and extra batteries

• A battery-operated radio and extra batteries

• Extra blankets

• Loose-fitting, warm clothing in several light layers

• A back up power source for any device that would create a life-threatening situation in power outages

Jull said it is also recommended that individuals, especially seniors, ask their neighbors to check in on them every few days. Despite no phone service and spotty power even 24 hours after the tree fell in their yard, the Drozes said that was a bright spot for them. Several of her neighbors came by to help them, including one who cut some of the fallen tree away so they could get their cars in and out of the driveway. Even Kitsap County Deputy Sheriff Krista McDonald stopped by to make sure they were fine.

“When I told her about all our neighbors’ help, she said she was impressed that there are still places where neighbors help one another,” Paulene commented.

For more information about winter weather preparedness, the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management can be reached at (360) 616-5870 or www.kitsapdem.org.

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