Storms are coming this week: Seattle family, utilities share message of preparedness

SEATTLE -- Chris Wilkes can easily remember Hanukkah Eve in Seattle in 2006 when they lost their power for 10 days. A powerful storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of their neighbors after strong winds demolished the power grid.

The Wilkes had an emergency preparedness kit but it wasn't enough food and water to last them more than three days. That has changed over the past decade.

"We’ve certainly beefed up our preparedness kit since then because we know if there was a citywide disaster there wouldn’t be restaurants out there," Wilkes said.  "There wouldn’t be a place to shower. We would be completely on our own."

Now they have enough food and water stored up for 10  days for not just their family but for some neighbors who need a helping hand.

Seattle City Light has also prepared since the big storm in 2006. The utility has agreements with over 100 companies nationwide to provide crews in the event of a major outage. City Light teams also inspected and replaced thousands of miles of power lines and poles.

Richard Moralez, Seattle City Light manager, said, "We’re ready. We’re ready to tackle what’s coming on."

The first front will be the milder of the two, bringing moderate rain and heavy wind Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. A winter storm watch will be in place during this window, with the snow level expected to drop as low as 2,500 feet.

Things should get even more interesting Thursday evening, when a strong jet stream is expected to bring 5-8 inches of rain in the Olympics and North Cascades, which would almost certainly lead to flooding and landslides. Sustained winds of 20-40 mph and gusts up to 60 mph are also forecast, which would likely cause power outages.

The city also has an outage map online that's easy to use and mobile phone friendly. Visit