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A dark and stormy night

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By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

As if the November storms weren't bad enough, December kept pace with a wind and rain storm that slammed into the area knocking down trees and power lines and causing considerable destruction.

The storm hit Thursday night and lasted into Friday morning cutting power to about 1 million people across the region, 700,000 Puget Sound Energy customers and the entire Plateau region.

The National Weather Service clocked the wind at 69 mph at Sea-Tac International Airport.

According to city officials at least 12 houses in Bonney Lake were damaged by fallen trees and East Pierce Fire and Rescue responded to more than 100 calls Thursday and Friday.

Roger Thompson, spokesman for PSE, said the damage from the storm “was the same magnitude as the 1993 Inaugural Day storm.”

The American Red Cross opened an emergency shelter Friday in the Bonney Lake Senior Center.

According to Staci Guirsch, senior services assistant, more than 12 people stayed in the shelter Friday night and 29 were provided dinner Sunday and 19 spent the night.

“The Red Cross has been wonderful,” Guirsch said. “They brought everything - cots, food and games.”

Guirsch expects the shelter will be open for another couple of days until all power is restored and damaged homes are secured.

As of Monday, PSE reported nearly 200,000 outages remained across the region. Areas in Pierce and King counties on the Plateau were still without power.

The Sumner, Dieringer, White River and Enumclaw school districts all closed Friday. Monday all school districts were open, but two schools in the Sumner district, Bonney Lake Elementary and Emerald Hills Elementary, were closed. Also closed for the day was White River High School.

Darla Edwards lives on 195th Avenue East and a tree fell on her house during the storm.

“It sounded like a grenade landed on the house,” Edwards said.

The city and Pierce County public works employee worked in shifts throughout the night Thursday and Friday clearing downed trees.

Tree debris from the storm was being accepted at the Ball Field four site across from Allan Yorke Park Saturday and Sunday.

Monday, the city began a cleanup of storm debris starting in the north part of the city.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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