Sunday, July 1, 2012

And the Wind Blew

I mean really, the wind BLEW!

I'm sure most people, at least in the Eastern US are very much aware of the storm that blew through Friday evening.  It developed quickly and moved fast.  James and I were playing Team Fortress 2 (TF2) when it hit our area.  I had headphones on and didn't hear the commotion outside until James starting yelling at me, "Did you hear those thumps!?" and the lights started flickering.  We looked outside and the wind was crazy and the lightning was eerily beautiful and it was all a little frightening.

To put this into some perspective, weather reports were interrupting just about all the regularly scheduled programming to tell people to stay inside and away from windows.  Well, that's easier said than done.  Every room in our small house has a window that plays a prominent role; including our bathroom where the tree limbs nearly touch the window.  If you want to avoid the windows you can sit in the closet or just take a deep breath and say a little prayer.

The thing, though, that scared us the most was a strange creaking sound that we were hearing outside the bedroom windows.  At first I thought it was the tree leaning into the telephone and cable lines running into the house, but that wasn't it.  Then I thought that the bird feeder strung up to the window awning was going to rip that off the house, but taking it down didn't change anything.  Later, after the wind passed and we could go outside we learned that the wind had blown open the door to the room that houses our water heater and outdoor storage and we were hearing the creaking of the door opening and shutting with the wind.

We were prepared to lose power.  We both had flashlights we carried with us the rest of the evening and we unplugged both computers.  To be completely honest, I was a little excited about the prospect of losing power for the evening.  In hindsight, with what I'm about to tell you about the power situation here, I feel incredibly blessed and lucky that we didn't lose power.

Saturday morning, we woke up early and took a walking tour of the neighborhood to survey the damage.  It was a little insane.

This tree started a chain reaction
It pulled down lines on both sides
It snapped one pole in half and that pole in turn tipped the street light.

The street light is still sitting in the road 36 hours later...

 These are all about 3 streets down from us and block the intersection next to the nearby elementary school. Thank goodness school isn't in session!

Moving on we turned down another street and while we were busy commenting on how lucky it was that there appeared to be no structural or vehicular damage, though we had seen several close calls, we came across this:
The tree limb did some serious damage to the windshield and dented the frame of the car.  Hopefully, they're insurance will cover it!

Approaching from a distance I wondered allowed if we could move the branch out of the road.  James laughed at me, and when we got close enough I couldn't blame him.

As you can see this is one of the close calls!

James also pointed out, that if this was easily moved someone probably would already have moved it.
We were talking to the owner of B&D Comics and discovered that they are without power.  We discussed the storm damage and we all agreed that part of the difference we were noticing is that the area of the neighborhood I live in has a lot of older, larger trees, and the areas less affected had younger, smaller trees.  We cut through the park on our way home to take a look at some of the major trees that fell, luckily they were all contained within the park and didn't damage houses.  The playground was even okay, but the road through the park is blocked by a fallen tree.

James yelled at me for walking under trees before checking to see if there were widow makers hanging in the limbs above.  Then, he almost walked right under one that wasn't more than a foot above his head.  It was fun to give back the chastisement I had already received.

Appalachian power is saying that it may be July 7th before power is restored to our area.  That's a week without power.  There are businesses, such as B&D Comics, that may be without power for a week.  That means, that some businesses may not be able to turn a profit for a week.  Which means, some chains such as Kroger, McDonald's, and Sheetz (to name a few I can attest to) are shifting manpower around the city and the locations that still have power are booming.  We went to McDonald's around 11am today and there business was booming.  We drove by Sheetz, and with all the gas stations without power they're making a killing.  Which is extremely obnoxious because they don't have the best price in town by far.  As for Kroger, the one around the corner from me is without power.  They have a big sign sending you to the next closest Kroger, I'm hoping that they are also able to shift their cold products to other stores to keep it from spoiling and assisting those stores with the increased traffic they are seeing.

The scariest thing about driving through the city is the number of intersections that are without power.  Some of the intersections without power are pretty big intersections, some are awkward even when there are signals, and some are little more than inconvenient. I think most drivers on the road were a little frightened because everyone seemed to be taking the situation seriously and treating the intersections as four way stops.  But it isn't like it is one section of the town without power, it's more like a checkerboard.  Luckily my neighborhood is one of the squares that seems to have retained power, but it does make driving awkward to move from one square that has power into one that doesn't, and then back to power again.

I was kind of hoping that all of downtown was without power because I might have gotten out of work for the next week.  We drove through this morning and I was a little disappointed to see the lights on in my building, so I guess I'll be at work early tomorrow morning.

However, due to an unusually heavy amount of drinking last night, I am experiencing a pretty nasty hangover and I'm going to go back to laying in bed and letting James take care of me.  So take care, stay safe, and I truly, truly hope that you have power this week.

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