Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Violent storm

Holy cow, we had one hum-dinger of a thunderstorm that rolled through yesterday. It was totally unexpected and caught almost everyone by surprise, both by its very existence as well as its ferocity.

I had taken Younger Daughter to her violin lesson in a nearby town and watched as dark clouds started pushing in, but it wasn't until we were driving home that it hit.

Seldom have I seen such torrential rain and fierce wind. The windshield wipers were going full-blast and still it was hard to see.

The lake had choppy whitecaps pushed by the wind.

The heavy rain lasted about ten minutes and then eased off, but the wind was still high. We rounded a corner and came to a stop because a small tree had fallen across the road. A semi truck and a car had stopped and the drivers were pulling the debris off the road.

By the time we made it to our own dirt road the storm cell had passed, leaving torn branches and debris everywhere...

...including this tree which snapped in half.

A local farmer, whom we hired to cut, swath, and bale some adjacent property for grass hay, had brought out some equipment but hadn't yet begun to cut (thankfully).

The last of the storm, heading out.

We arrived home to find minor chaos. The power was out, of course. Don and Older Daughter had run around trying to batten down hatches, but the wind blew from the northwest (rather than the usual southwest) and poured water even through shut windows because the wind was so strong. Every towel in the house was soaked because they ran around mopping up as fast as they could.

Unfortunately in their haste, they forgot to check the upstairs windows... and our bedroom faces north. A jar on the windowsill had half an inch of water on it and the wind blew the rain in so hard that the carpet was wet -- soaked and squishy -- six feet into the room. Our bed was mostly protected by the bedspread, which was quite wet. We pulled it off and found the sheets and blankets below slightly damp but not bad. Our clock radio, however, is toast. (It's 24 years old, so it's served us well.)

The rain came down so hard it made little debris dams in the driveway.

Of course the garden got battered, but not as badly as we'd feared. The potatoes were blown over, but they're recover.

Here's the corn. It may or may not make it.

Tomatoes. I think they'll be okay.

Brussel's sprouts. Again, I think they'll be okay. Nothing snapped.

The loafing shed against one of the garden fences was trashed, however. Absolutely destroyed.

Sparky and hew new baby had some shelter from the barn awning, but the wind was blowing sideways so they still got wet.

The good news is the storm dropped the temperature thirty degrees -- from 90F down to 60F -- a welcome relief from the unrelenting heat we've been having.

The bad news is there are thousands of acres of hay around the county that are cut and drying on the ground. With temps shooting straight back up into the 90s, this hay stands a very good chance of rotting. It could be salvaged if it's turned and fluffed, but there aren't enough farmers to turn and fluff so much cut hay before it starts to rot. Breaks my heart.


Since the power was out, the chickens were reluctant to go into the darkened coop. I lit the hurricane lamp and tied it inside, so they'd have an incentive to go indoors. (Of course we removed it before locking them in for the night.)

The girls played the game Life by lamplight.

Deep in the night, at 2:30 am, the hard-working electric company workers came slowly down the road, lights flashing, searching for damage. They came and went, then returned again at 3:30 am. Power was on by 3:45 am. My hat's off to these guys -- they are some of society's unsung heroes.

Unsurprisingly after such a storm, the morning was foggy...

...and today was cooler (high 80s) though the temps are supposed to climb again tomorrow and for the next few days.

Damage reports have been coming in. A tree came down and clipped a corner of a neighbor's house, but it can be repaired.

Another neighbor who built a small studio that was meant to be moved somewhere else, had it totally flipped upside down. No one was in it, thankfully.

I decided it was time to wash, and top off all the oil lamps, which tend to get dusty with disuse.

Altogether things could have been worse, though I still feel terrible for the farmers who lost their hay crop.


  1. I have never seen you make an error in the construction of a sentence before...but, at least, it was funny. "Another neighbor....was flipped upside down." Great mental picture.! Thanks for a good laugh.

  2. I have never seen you make a mistake in the construction of a sentence before. But at least it was funny. "Another neighbor...was totally flipped upside down." Great mental picture . Thanks for a good laugh.

  3. Patrice, this has nothing to do with this current post...but do you know what is happening with Survivalblog.com? Everytime today I try to get on that site, it wants me to sign up for Wordpress and download wordpress first...and it wants to know what site I am trying to visit. I don't think so!!!

    1. I haven't been on their website for a few days and I'm getting the same thing. I'll see what I can find out.

      - Patrice

    2. Just visited there, no problem on my end. Judy, maybe you should run a malware scan on your end. WordPress sites don't require visitors to download the software in order to visit. Suspicious.

  4. at least now you know where the holes in your safety net are and can work on weather proofing windows, et cetera.
    remember the Bible says the winds will one day be so fierce that men's hearts will fail within them for fear.
    good to make every new structure as strong as possible.

  5. Yikes. You were spared the hailstones, thank goodness, but that was still a pretty bad deal for the farmers and gardeners.

    It grieves me to see that hay ruined. We've had the same problem here this year.

    "Power was on by 3:45 am. My hat's off to these guys -- they are some of society's unsung heroes."

    Amen to that, Patrice. Those guys deserve our best thanks for the hugely important and dangerous work they do.

    Sure glad y'all didn't lose any critters or have any major fence damage.

    We had wind so strong on Monday that I watched birds unable to fly in it. I watched a couple trying to fly across our pasture, flying in place for a while and then getting blown backward into the trees. Poor little guys.

    Today is hot and clear. Time to go water.

    A. McSp

  6. How strange--at our place in Florida we had a very similar storm on Monday. It was a very fast-moving storm--probably only 20 minutes total--but the wind and lightning were unbelievable. We lost at least a dozen trees, some uprooted, some snapped off halfway up. Lightning zapped the phone and internet. Thankfully the animals and the garden are okay. Well, practically the only thing growing in a Florida garden in mid-summer are okra and caterpillars, but at least those are alright! There was hardly any damage to other folks' places down our road. Crazy.
    --Ivy Mae

  7. I hope your veggies perk back up. It makes me think about the people who ask me how much of one thing do I can or freeze in a year. I always tell them as much as you are able because you never know how much of that thing will be available next year. Your corn may have just been destroyed, but you may have an abundance of potatoes.

  8. When ever I see them cutting hay around here I think back to my childhood on the farm in Illinois and wonder how dad managed in the years without the Weather underground. We also did not have the cutters / crimpers that they have now so the drying of the cut hay took 3 days or so and then another day in the windrow. I can only remember a few years that he did not have a good result. I can remember one time when I was about 14 or so where I had to fluff the windrows twice. The cows were not happy that year!

  9. Maybe you could call the new calf Stormy! :)

  10. Leave the corn alone. It will straighten back up on its own. Had similar damage to my corn earlier this year. .After 3 days my corn was back up.

  11. oh man, the weather in Oklahoma is also acting oddly. Normally we have temps in the high 90's - low 100's by this time of year... today was high 70's and we are having an unusually wet summer as well, it makes me worry about this coming winter's weather