Fifteen years ago, thousands of trees were blown down, knocking out power to over 1.5 million people and producing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. The storm destroyed about 70 percent of Puget Sound Energy’s infrastructure. Some people did not get their power back until Christmas Day.

Fifteen years ago, the Hanukkah Eve Wind Storm struck Western Washington. On the evening of December 14th into early December 15th, the storm plowed thru the region with wind gusts up to 100 mph.

Thousands of trees were blown down, knocking out power to over 1.5 million people and producing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. The storm destroyed about 70 percent of Puget Sound Energy’s infrastructure. Some people did not get their power back until Christmas Day.

The storm resulted in 15 fatalities, four of them directly from the storm and 11 afterward due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Thanks to the cold and lack of power, some people used barbeques and other heating and cooking elements indoors, causing the tragic post-storm deaths. Hundreds were also poisoned.

The region gets a strong powerful wind event like the Hanukkah Eve storm about every ten years. It has been 15 years, and we are overdue. Now is the time to prepare for these powerful storms with extra supplies like non-perishable food, water, prescriptions, cash, and other necessities at home. Backup power generators must be properly ventilated outdoors. Visit takewinterbystorm.org for helpful tips that can make excellent holiday gifts for loved ones.

To stay on top of North Sound weather, monitor the everettpost.com weather page, the National Weather Service web page at weather.gov/seattle/ , and your local all-hazards NOAA Weather Radio station at 162.55 MHz or 162.425 MHz. A NOAA Weather Radio receiver would also make a thoughtful holiday gift providing immediate notification of weather warnings and other local emergency warning messages from Island, Snohomish, and Skagit Counties, as well as features like battery backup, AM/FM radio, and USB ports to charge cell phones.

Remember, when you are weather aware, you are weather prepared.

North Sound Meteorologist Ted Buehner worked more than 40 years for the National Weather Service (NWS) from 1977 to 2018. He is now an Everett Post Media team member. Together with Everett Post Weather Minute Podcasts, he provides morning and afternoon commute traffic and weather updates on both KRKO and KXA Radio, and sports reporting on KRKO.