Category Archives: Weather

News trickles into Kitsap from typhoon-hit island

After writing on Monday about people in Kitsap’s Fil-Am community worried about friends and family in the typhoon ravaged Philippines, I got an update from Don Biadog, a Navy chaplain with Kitsap roots.

Communication with those caught in the path of Supertyphoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the Philippines) has been difficult due to lack of electricity. More than half a million were displaced by the storm, and rescue efforts have been hampered by the extent of the devastation, as well as logistical challenges of the country, made up of islands. See the bottom of this post, where I’ve pasted information on locating people and on providing aid.

Biadog, back in Kitsap for a visit, is from the island of Negros west of Leyte, the area hardest hit by Haiyan/ Yolanda. He has family on Negros, who were OK, though their house was damaged. On Tuesday, he heard from some missionary friends on the west side of Negros (the north part of the island, where his family, lives was more heavily damaged than the south).

“Good morning. Thank you all for your prayers!” wrote his friend Linda Moore. “To answer questions: We are fine. All Am. BMA Missionaries in the Phil. are fine. No major damage to any of us.”

Moore said her house was not damaged and the area where she lives in general was “relatively unscathed.”

“Trees and limbs across power lines, fallen power posts, and intermittent power is the worst of our problems,” she said.

Moore said the group’s Filipino coordinator is stuck on Leyte, which he told Moore is “totally devastated.”

“There are many areas as yet unreached and unheard from!” the man on Leyte told Moore. “No power, no phones, no cell towers, no gasoline (the tidal surge ruined all the gasoline storage and ground-tanks), no transportation, no food or water. No medicine. No money, because banks are closed – if they are still standing! Pray for them. Worse than Katrina!!”

“It breaks my heart that the people of Leyte and other devastated areas are without shelter, food, water, or anything,” Moore wrote. “There is an American aircraft carrier on the way from Hong Kong, going there with helicopters able to get into areas away from the city, where they can take food and aid.

“Think the Katrina, but imagine that most of the houses are made of bamboo and nipa grass (thatch), and contain more than 10 people per house, and each house is built up against the next!

“People were evacuated in many areas, but generally they do like the folks on the coast used to do, “Oh, we’ve rode out storms before, we will be fine!” But this one was the worst of the worst!

“Pray for us that we will be able to help in some small ways, and for them, that others will help them as well! Love you folks. God bless you for keeping us and our people In your prayers!”

To get help and give help …
Contact Nartea at 360-473-7859.


— The Philippine Red Cross has deployed assessment and rescue teams to areas hardest hit by the typhoon. For information on tracing relatives through the PRC, visit the organization’s Facebook page,, and see the post made Sunday. Or visit Google’s “Typhoon Yolanda” person finder at Donations to the Philippine Red Cross can be made online at

— The Archdiocese of Seattle is coordinating relief efforts through Catholic Relief Services, the official overseas development and relief agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Send donations for CRS to the Archdiocese of Seattle Missions Office, 710 Ninth Ave., Seattle, WA 98104; call 877-435-7277 or donate online at Make checks payable to CRS (note “Haiyan typhoon”).

— In Kitsap County, Pacific Northwest Ilocandia Association President Rudy Nartea is open to holding fundraisers to benefit people in the Philippines in coordination with other local groups.

Weather balloon makes surprise landing in Bremerton backyard

This blog item was contributed by Kitsap Sun reporter Ed Friedrich, who covers the military, transportation and … weather. Kitsap Sun photographer Larry Steagall took the photos of the weather balloon, which was found in an East Bremerton backyard.

EAST BREMERTON — It wasn’t as thrilling as a UFO landing next door or a meteorite crashing through the roof, but it’s not something you see every day.
“I’ve never heard of one landing in someone’s backyard,” Larry Handel said of a weather balloon he found recently.
He’d noticed the orange parachute in mid-October, but passed it off as a freshly broken branch. Winds on Oct. 25, the day he found the balloon, stripped the tree’s remaining leaves and exposed the balloon about 50 feet up.
Weather Balloon
Handel, 66, MacGyvered a grappling hook and flung it up. It snagged a nylon cord, and he pulled down the parachute, a shredded white latex balloon and a little square box with a tube attached.
“There were all kinds of doohickies and computer stuff sticking out of it,” said Handel, who lives with wife Robbyn on four acres behind Redwood Plaza.
Writing on the device said if it’s inflated to call 911 and the police will dispose of it. If not, it can be packaged and mailed back to Kansas City, Mo.
In magic marker was written “10-5-13,” which Handel assumes means it was launched on Oct. 5.
Weather Balloon
Art Gaebel of the National Weather Service in Seattle was unimpressed with the discovery.
“Believe me, that thing didn’t sail around the world,” he said. “It’s not a news flash.”
Weather balloons are launched twice a day at the same time from weather stations around the world, Gaebel said. This one probably came from
Quillayute, west of Forks. That’s the only place in Washington that sends them up.
They contain instruments for measuring the temperature, pressure and dew point in the atmosphere. By the time they descend, their work is done.
“It all gets programmed in to computer models. It’s what helps us make our forecasts,” Gaebel said.
If they’re all torn up, they can be kept as souvenirs or tossed. If they’re in halfway decent shape, they can be sent to the weather service office in Seattle or the address in Kansas City that appears on them.

Poulsbo in picture-perfect pose

Bruce Bryant of Poulsbo has set up a webcam overlooking Poulsbo from somewhere high in the hills near Raab Park.

I, for one, will be checking it a lot today. The sun is shining brightly in Bremerton right now (3:24 p.m., Saturday). I just returned from Silverdale, where it was also a sunny, sunny day. The picture in Poulsbo, though, is a little gray. And they were snowed on earlier.

Feel free to let us know if you see snow at your house, or anywhere you’re traveling. Of course I’m most interested in Kitsap weather, but if you’re in Iowa or something I wouldn’t stop you from chiming in.

Oh, THAT big ship …

Observant bunch, those folks in Manchester.

I got an email earlier in the week from Manchester resident Dave Pabst inquiring about a large — make that humongous — cargo ship anchored off Blake Island. Pabst, armed with binoculars and the magic of the Internet, already knew the ship was the Fortune Daisy, 738-foot bulk cargo ship based in Hong Kong.

You may have noticed the ship in photos from today’s Manchester dock replacement story. It’s hard to miss it there in the right of the photo.

Pabst wondered, “With charter rates in excess of $27,000 per day, someone is spending/losing a lot of money keeping this relatively new (built 2011), 738 foot long ship out of service.”

I poked into the ship’s story, using a handy site that Pabst already discovered called, a public site that shows the location of major ships around the world, with links to their specifications. The only thing I have to add to Pabst’s description is that the ship’s most recent port of call was Lianyungang, a major port in China.

I called Lt. Cmdr. Heather St. Pierre of the U.S. Coast Guard, who said the ship was more or less assigned anchorage in Yukon Harbor, as it arrive in the Seattle area earlier in the week, right after a weather pattern that caused large swells in South Puget Sound. St. Pierre did not know if the ship’s miscellaneous cargo was eventually bound for Seattle or Tacoma. She said having ships moored in protected pockets like Yukon Harbor, which is sheltered by Blake Island, is a common practice.

Not only is the surface water off Manchester relatively well protected from wind and waves, but the sea floor composition is such that it offers better “holding ground” or bite for anchors than in other areas, St. Pierre said.

St. Pierre had no other information on the ship, which according to was still there Saturday morning, but she said there’s no cause for alarm.

“There’s definitely nothing nefarious going on with this vessel,” St. Pierre said. “It’s just looking for a safe place to be.”

Well, aren’t we all?

Extreme shrimping

Thus endeth another shrimping season on Hood Canal. And what a season it was. Shrimpers had wind, rain, hail, sun, plenty of big, juicy spot shrimp, and a bonus day courtesy of the demigods at the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

And the extreme shrimper award of the year goes to… Jerome Tramill of Vaughn, who lives by the creed, “The heck with fingers … save the pots.”

Unlike the opening day of shrimping, yesterday, the last day of the spot shrimp season, was mild and gorgeous. This according to editor David Nelson, who took the day off to go shrimping (he works Saturday). David got his limit and has promised us a free lunch tomorrow – yes there is such a thing. Please be gumbo, please be gumbo.

The opening day of shrimping season was, weather-wise, a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. Tramill and his wife Alma are seasoned shrimpers not apt to let a little wind and rain stop them. But that first Saturday in May was, in Tramill’s words, “a pretty tough day on the water. The wind kicked up. We decided to pull up and get the heck out of there.”

Tramill started the motor on his electric pot puller, and the machinery cranked against the drift and the tide. The boat was pitching around, and Tramill found himself off balance. Then “in the blink of an eye” he found his hand tangled in the line, the puller grinding on. He shut the motor down and had to cut the line to free his mangled fingers. From the angle of his little finger, he was pretty sure it was broken. “It turned out to be worse than broken,” said Tramill, who ended up losing half of his pinkie in the accident.

His other digits weren’t in such good shape either. Blood gushed from his hand, dripping on the deck. Holding the severed line with his uninjured left hand, he wrapped the right with a T-shirt. Then he considered the pot.

It wasn’t just about the shrimp, but the darn thing cost a pretty penny. “I decided, rather than throw 100 bucks away, I’d pull it in. That was a killer,” Tramill said.

I personally can attest how tough it is to pull pots by hand, even with two good hands. My experience includes all of 15 minutes, helping haul pots while on assignment for the story, “Shrimp Abundant on Hood Canal This Year.” I had to lean my whole body into each tug, and even wearing gloves, my palms and fingers stung when I and my kind host, the owner of the gear, wrestled the pot over the side of the boat.

Tramill tugged and hauled and grunted with the effort for what seemed like an eternity, his wife — by his description — keeping up an increasingly shrill volley of expletives. When at last he hoisted the pot into the boat, it had all of about 15 shrimp inside. Tramill speculates most of the little buggers probably escaped because his injury prevented him from hauling the pot in smoothly.

He eyed the line to the second pot, but pain and his wife’s common sense prevailed. With Alma at the wheel, they headed against the wind, toward shore. Tramill credits his wife with navigating the boat through some of the nastiest chop he’s ever seen. It took them about an hour to reach the boat launch at Twanoh State Park, where they were met by EMTs from Mason County Fire District, station 2.

“When they pulled into the dock, there was a good amount of blood in the entire boat,” said firefighter EMT Brian Johnson, who noted the extreme weather. “It was rough out there. It was gangbusters,” he said.

Tramill, on the other hand, was remarkably calm. “He was in really good spirits and more concerned about his shrimp than anything else,” Johnson said.

A buddy showed up to take care of Tramill’s boat and equipment. According to Johnson, Tramill, as he was being loaded into the ambulance, exhorted the buddy to “get those things on ice.”

Poulsbo webcam is live

Brynn writes:

If you haven’t seen it yet, Poulsbo has its very own webcam overlooking Liberty Bay.

Actually it doesn’t belong to the city, it’s located on Longship Marine’s building (remember Lois Hillman and her venture into the marine supply world? I wrote about her back in May 2010).

Anyway, according Three Sheets Northwest, a sailing blog I follow, sailor Bruce Blumenstein is the mastermind behind the installation of the camera. He moved himself, and his boat, from Oregon and landed in Poulsbo’s Liberty Bay. After settling in, he decided he’d like to have an eye on his boat and thought of the idea to station a webcam overlooking the Bay so he, along with anyone else, could see what was happening in snapshots of real time.

Read about how the camera came to be over at the Three Sheets’ “On Watch” post.

The Long Ship Marine webcam joins the other livecam we often see referenced on the local weather stations, and of course at — Dr. Dale Ireland’s cam that overlooks Silverdale and the Olympic Mountains.

Mudslide on 166 causes delays (and thoughts of highway’s name)

12:15 a.m. today (Monday, March 14): Plans for delays if you’re heading to or from Port Orchard on Highway 166 (that highway that goes along Beach Drive). Washington State Department of Transportation notified us at 11:55 a.m. of the slide in the eastbound lane at milepost 1.2. WSDOT Maintence is on the scene. One-way, alternating traffic has been established in the westbound lane.

Despite the rainy weather we’ve had this winter, the hillside above the highway, which received a major fix from WSDOT, has held pretty well … until now.

The news prompted talk in the newsroom of whether there’s a name for the highway, other than Highway 166 or “that road that goes along the water heading into Port Orchard.” What do you call that road (other than a few choice names when mudslides happen)?

DIY Kitsap: Landscaping with Sandbags

The Road Warrior in his recent column forwarded information from the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management on how to dispose of sandbags.

“Most homeowners wouldn’t want them as a permanent part of their landscaping, I would think,” RW speculates.

Au contraire, with all the recent flooding, Kitsap stands poised to start a trend. Can’t you — especially you in South Kitsap — see it? Sandbag retaining walls, sandbags lining walkways, sand bag planters, sandbag sculptures (bet we could interest Bremerton in that idea).

HGTV, here we are, looking our rainy winter best.

Oh, and don’t be too quick to ditch those sand bags. Winter officially only just began on Tuesday.

Hunter Road Open with Restrictions

Hunter Road Open with Restrictions

By Chris Henry
Hunter Road SE in rural South Kitsap, which washed out Sunday in heavy rains, is open as of Tuesday morning.
The road will be restricted to one lane indefinitely. A 10,000-pound weight limit is placed on the crossing at the culvert.
According to Kitsap County officials, crews need a window of low water flow in the creek in order to finish installing the new culvert. That’s not likely, as early Tuesday morning brought more drenching rain, along with thunder and lightning.
Crescent Valley Road in South Kitsap, which had been closed from a mudslide, is open as of Tuesday morning.
Roads that remain closed are Banner, Beach Drive, Hillcrest, Lake Helena all in South Kitsap, Lake Flora Road inside Bremerton city limits, and Bahia Vista Road and Seabeck Highway in Central Kitsap.
Fragaria Road in South Kitsap is restricted to one lane of travel east of Banner Road SE.
Kitsap County will periodically update road status on its website,

Hunter Road: A Way Out, at Least on Foot

Hunter Road residents are marooned in their neighborhood by a washout at Huge Creek, caused by heavy rain Sunday. The name “Huge Creek” is not a joke Hunter resident Gary Bergman assured me.

I ran into Gary Sunday night near the washout. He had been able to get out on foot via a path near his house, at the end of Hunter Road. The path connects to Daisy Street, Gary said. So if you stranded folks know anyone who will pick you up, you could meet them there.

To get to the end of Daisy Street follow Glenwood Road toward Hunter Road SW; before you get to Hunter, turn right on Lake Helena Road; left on Oak Ridge Lane; left again on Daisy Street.

Here’s the Google Map (below). If you haven’t used a Google map before, know that you can you can use the + and – signs to zoom in and out, and use the arrows to scan left, right, up and down.

Good luck. Call or e-mail me with your stories and information to share with other residents (be sure to give me your contact information.

Chris Henry
(360) 792-9219

View Hunter Road in a larger map