Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Fast-Moving Storm...

...was what the radio said. I'd been sewing all afternoon and had just gotten up to go feed the dog. I was shocked at the black sky to the south and thought, well, dog, your walk may be a little delayed tonight. The radio confirmed that. I shut down the studio, unplugging my expensive machines; ditto the computer. Within minutes, straight line winds (gusting to over 60 mph I found out later) hit, making the big maple out front dance and sway, making me step back from the windows and wonder what part of the house would be the safest to hide in. And then as quickly as it had come, it was gone. A little rain and lightening lingered, but the big wind had passed. The lights had only flickered a bit. The big maple had not dropped any branches on my car or elsewhere for that matter. But beyond it, across the driveway and the landlord's small pasture, two willow trees had been snapped clean off.

I turned on the news, which comes out of Spokane about 90 miles SW, and their skies were blue! Yes, that was SOME fast moving storm! And then the power went out and stayed out. Skies were clearing here too, so I figured we may as well take that walk and assess the damage. I looked out into the side yard and was shocked to see big branches littering the ground - the maple tree out there had not fared as well as the one out front.

This doesn't look so bad, and in fact it's not, compared with what other people had to deal with. See this local news story from south of me. Nothing hit the house. Then I looked up into the tree. Several very large limbs along with some smaller ones had snapped and were hung up in the high branches. These pictures show one about in the center.

In this picture, the upper branch looks like it's attached to the trunk, but if you look closely, you will see it is not.

We walked around the landlord's place. This very large willow had been pruned this spring. The force of the wind is obvious. My stubby little lab gives some idea just how big this section is that was torn off.

The power stayed off about 4-1/2 hours. With it staying light so much longer these days, I was able to eat dinner and start reading the paper without the aid of candle light. But eventually I fired up my little kerosene lamp and lit a bunch of candles to wait out the evening. The power outage had eliminated my computer time, but given me an opportunity to catch up on some writing before it got too dark. The candle light was sufficient to finish reading the paper and the quiet was nice for a change. By 10:30 the power was back on and life resumed as normal.

I started the clean-up this morning - not exactly what I had planned for the day. Drug away the larger branches, pulled down others that I could reach (but I'm not touching those big hummers looming far above my head), started raking up the smaller branches. Those little ones are the worst and I couldn't believe how many of them there are. I'm even picking up branches from those willow trees. It wasn't until I came in from this first round of clean-up that I found out, via the radio again, that all of Sandpoint proper had lost power and it was not expected to be restored until midnight tonight. Some areas even lost phone service. I didn't realize just how lucky I was.

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