‘They fall fast and they hurt you bad.’ People in WA State statistically in more danger of falling trees in windstorms

When Dan Nunn of Marysville heard about the tragic death of 30-year-old Dale McCracken of the Key Peninsula on Tuesday, when a falling branch struck him in a windstorm, Nunn says it broke his heart.

“I know how that happens,” Nunn said. “(Trees) fall and they fall fast and they can hurt you bad. I still have PTSD.”

Nearly five years ago on Nov. 17, 2015, Nunn had the scare of his life when an 80-foot hemlock tree was suddenly toppled by wind while he was starting a generator in front of his Marysville home during a power outage during a massive windstorm. The big tree was plunging directly at him faster than he could react.

“I heard the tree coming and the tip of it--just the very tip--hit me just as I was going in the door,” he said. “A few inches more it would have taken my head off, but it broke my arm in half and threw me against the house.”

The impact from the crashing tree destroyed part of Dan’s home and it also broke his arm so badly, it took a metal rod and surgery to put him back together.

On that same night, 23-year-old Grant Strinden was killed instantly when a tree crushed his car in Monroe. Strinden was among three people killed in Washington State by falling trees in the same windstorm.

Another large tree crashed into a Woodinville elementary school, and utility crews had windblown trees entangled in power lines from Pierce to Whatcom County.

A study spanning a decade indicated Washington State had the second-highest number of people killed by falling trees and branches next to New York state, which had only two more deaths (30) in ten years.

KIRO-7 has covered several people killed by falling trees--some inside their cars--some inside their own homes--every year since 2015, when Dan Nunn saw the tree falling, tried to outrun it, and somehow survived it.

“It was really close,” he said. "I think I was within a few inches of not being able to tell this story.''

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