Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A few loose shingles later!

Well at least we didn't have a tree down on our roof or our car or our yard. We are not one of the more than quarter of a million people still without power in our region. We survived the incredible wind storm unscathed. We had hurricane force winds (80-84 mph) for about 6 hours on Sunday afternoon, only we live about 14 hours by car from the nearest coast. Not quite sure what that was all about. All I have to say is thank you to God that we didn't have hurricane force rain or we would be just a little soggy in our shingle less home!

It was pretty tremendous to experience the wind storm. It began in earnest as we left church, but no one really understood how bad it would get. Even the hyperventilating weather folk on TV did not call this one. At home I quickly realized that I should secure my backyard as my picnic table umbrella was attempting to impale itself in the neighbors deck. As I was gathering chairs and small plastic detritus (sand box toys, balls, dolls, etc) DBG insisted that she needed to come out to help me. The noise of the wind in the trees scared her a little but she ran around screaming as the wind blew the leaves and dirt into our eyes. After a minute I realized that the tenor of her screaming had changed and I looked over to find her pushed against the picket fence by the wind, unable to break free. Her little 39 pound body could not withstand the force of the wind, so for the next few minutes she clung to my back like a little monkey as I tried to finish securing things. Just as I thought I was done the wind picked up one end of the rubber mats that we have under the climbing structure and began blowing them around the yard. There were 36 of those buggers, but I was only able to find and put away 33. 3 of them have sailed into oblivion because I scoured the neighborhood later and there was no sign of them. We made it inside and then there was a tremendous crash and the lights flickered. Two large trees had fallen across the road further down from us.

I couldn't take DBG home on Sunday as there was a state of emergency declared and all non-essential vehicles were prohibited from the roadways. Not sure we would have made it the 1.5 hours down to her house anyway as the major expressways were closed or reduced to one lane and many, many roads were obstructed. Her folks were okay, shaken a bit in their trailer on the hill, but thankfully the wind was not as fierce for them and the trailer didn't blow away.

So we spent the latter part of the afternoon helping our neighbors clean up and get supplies. In this tornado prone part of the country it is amazing to me how few folks had the basic necessities, like flashlights, hand cranked radios, batteries, coolers for ice, extra drinking water, etc. Since we were one of about 10 houses in our whole neighborhood who didn't lose power we invited quite a few folks over for a big dinner. My DH absolutely loves the challenge of cooking for a large group.

For the over 250,000 folks who still do not have power they are saying it will be 10-14 days until they do get the power up. We have power and gas (right now) but the groceries are closed or empty and many, many folks are not prepared to survive for that length of time. Luckily we have pantries stocked with canned goods as I have not yet learned to shop for the few we have left and have still been shopping for 8-10 folks. I think we will make it, but I don't know about milk. The bread we can make from scratch if it comes down to it.

We are supplying many of our neighbors with recharging facilities, we have a set up on our front porch with a surge protector strip so that folks can plug in their cell phones for recharging and not even have to bother us. I had to laugh yesterday afternoon. we had 2 cell phones, a lap top and PSP all plugged in. I wish we could help more with our neighbors. We are keeping an eye on our elderly neighbor just one house down, at least she also has power. Many of our friends have lost the entire contents of their refrigerators and freezers. We took what we could of my friends frozen "canning" efforts that she has been putting up all summer but they still lost some of their precious work.

There is no school for the foreseeable future as less than one quarter of the schools in the county system have power and/or are accessible. My job is shuttered and we are all conducting what we can from home as the Children's Home has no power. The residential children are riding it out right now, but may have to moved to another facility if they cannot reestablish power today. They have a small emergency generator and have been able to feed them, etc. but they have no lights, no entertainment, and it is fast becoming untenable. Most of the foster families have no power but are pretty self-sufficient types so have not called for help from the agency. I have offered my home for showers, TV respites, etc. but getting around is still so difficult even though some families may want to take me up on my offer they can't really get here.

The good side of all this, we haven't had rain so the damage to the homes is not as severe as might be, we won't have rain through the weekend so we might be able to get a tarp up on our roof (it is of course the roof line that is over 3 stories from the ground!!). And the weather is absolutely pleasant so those who don't have power are not suffering from the cold or the heat. As my 73 year old neighbor so succinctly said, "Thank the Lord. It could always be worse."

1 comment:

Brooke said...

Wow, how scary! Well I'm glad you guys still have power, and your house and car were not crushed! =)