Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Batten Down the Barn Doors

Just a warning for those of you in the path of this storm that passed through Northern California and Nevada yesterday. This was the worst wind we've seen in our history of living here, and we've experienced hurricane force winds quite often.

You remember that tarp I hung from a fence the other day? The wind whipped it around so much that the whipping of the tarp snapped a wooden fence panel right off its posts and both of my tarps have holes ripped in them. My neighbor's fence was blown down, and my truck got pelted by debris as I drove to work.

Just before leaving for work, the power went out. I figured it was just our neighborhood, because we have the world's worst electrical service, but it turned out to affect the entire valley, which includes two towns. All the traffic lights were out and everyone had to stop at every intersection and treat it like a 4-way stop. However, with it being rush hour, all the people who felt that they couldn't wait to get to work just pushed their way through the intersections in chunks without yielding to the right-of-way of others.

My job is on the top of a mountain where it rained all day, but the wind wasn't nearly as bad. We had electricity, with just a few occasional glitches in the network. Around 4:15 PM, I called home to see if the electricity was turned on and if they needed me to pick up dinner in the one city that did have electricity. It turned out that the valley had no electricity all day from about 7:00 AM until 4:10 PM. I just happened to call right when they turned it on. Of course they needed me to pick up dinner. Everything in the fridge had been sitting at room temperature all day.

Of course, while I was one the phone with my son promising to come to the rescue with some food, my boss was asking me to work late. I said no to my boss, but agreed to log in and work once I got home, provided the electricity stayed on. My boss had made another coworker stay at the office until 10:00 PM the previous night and I wasn't going to even start such a precedence, especially when my home was blowing away in pieces down in the valley.

I usually stop at In & Out Burger when I need to bring home dinner, but cars were lined up around the block -- probably all the people who live in the valley with spoiled food from the power outage. I looked over and saw that no one was at Quiznos Subs, so I picked up some yummy, thousand-calorie sandwiches for dinner. I got home to a shell-shocked husband. He said that the noise from the wind was so loud, he didn't think the roof was going to hold. Because the electricity was out, he couldn't get his car out of the garage to go drive around and find out what was going on. His little truck was outside, but he knew it would probably roll in the wind if he drove it out from behind its windbreak. He was supposed to work from home, but had no computer, so he used his iPhone to access the local news, which said that power lines were down all over the place.

It turned out that the power was out most of the day for the schools, and the kids at one elementary school were instructed in the hallways instead of their classrooms to keep them away from the windows, I guess. The aluminum roof on Gabbrielle's stall has always been a problem for us, because it shakes violently and loudly. There was an error in the number of panels and their thickness when we were building it, so we had to do some patchwork. I'm always worrying those panels will rip loose and decapitate someone, but they are within our 90 MPH wind building code, so they withstood this wind. I was sure to give each horse a treat for surviving in his/her stall at the end of the day. They seemed fairly calm by the time I made it down the mountain, but I'm sure they were just as shell-shocked as my husband.

Oh yeah, and my husband told me that hurricane force winds are not enough to stop our neighbors from doing their annoying construction projects. Some guy showed up at a house across the street with a generator and a jackhammer! So, on top of having to listen to the sound of the wind ripping shingles off our roof all day, my husband had to listen to the sound of a jackhammer. Lovely.


jane augenstein said...

Wow! Sounds like a really bad storm! Glad to hear that so far everything is staying together, hope your roof holds out.

Breathe said...

That sounds insane! Glad you made it through largely intact.

JeniQ said...

Echo of Jane.. WOW !!!

fernvalley01 said...

Sounds scary! I hate the wind!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

We're getting that wind today. It was supposed to hit yesterday afternoon, so I hustled around all morning trying to get necessities done. The wind never came up, so I had sort of an early day. That was nice. We actually went out for supper. That usually doesn't happen.

I woke up this morning to 'the wind'. I hurried over and got horses fed and watered before it really started howling. It may be after dark before it goes down enough to feed them their evening meal.

Lulu said...

The high winds are supposed to reach us (Nebraska) tonight. It sounds like it'll be "fun"! ;)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Thanks for the warning. We've been getting the winds all day today and they've not let up much. Some of the worst we've had up here, too. Gusts of at least 60 mph at times.

I'm surprised you all could hear the jackhammer. With this wind I can't even hear my roosters crowing. And I've got my windows open, the ones that face away from the!


Paint Girl said...

How awful!! I hate high winds!! They are so destructive!
I ate at in-n-out burger's for my first time when I was in Scottsdale. Pretty good! Now I am craving one, but we don't have those here.
Glad you all survived the wind storm!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Paint Girl - There definitely is something addictive about In and Out Burgers. I suspect it's whatever they put in the sauce. I like the fact the the lettuce and tomatoes are ice cold while the burger is piping hot. It tastes like you are eating fresh salad and steak at the same time.

sandy green said...

Man it sounds like that was a bad storm.
Hope everything is fine now.

Train Wreck said...

We had horrible wind last night. All night. And again today. I keep looking out to see if there is a women on a bicycle blowing by? lol

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I was just reminded of when I was a teenager and my older cousins and their friends took the In and Out Burger bumper stickers and marked out the 'B' and also the 'R' at the end of Burger.

Naughty boys!