The rain hissed as it fell, pinging off the awnings of Juneau’s downtown hotels and pitting the dark surface of the harbor, where the season’s remaining cruise ships swayed. The steady September drizzle transformed the streets into streams, slanting down the city’s steep hillsides. Sarah Wallace and her partner had slogged home from work and were just starting dinner when a faint rumble began. The ground began to vibrate. The thrumming grew, crescendoing like a piano tumbling down stairs. 

A neighbor dashed out of his side of the building just as a large Sitka spruce tree crashed onto the road behind him. A transformer blew. There was a flash of green sparks, and then Wallace was plunged into darkness. She scooped up her cats and ran into the night.