Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Mighty Wind

Roger and I went for a walk on Friday. The weather forecast had called for heavy winds (sustained 25-35 mph with gusts of 60-80 mph) both Thursday and Friday, but Friday started out clear and calm. So, we headed up the hill and along one of the irrigation ditches. This particular ditch walk takes us through thick pine and oak forests. We are often serenaded by the crazy calls of the Acorn Woodpecker there. We walk about a mile and a half and then turn around to head back. It's one of those walks that requires backtracking.
On the way back the wind picked up considerably. The roaring sound was disconcerting, and the air was literally filled with pine cones, leaves, pine needles, and little branches EVERYWHERE. It was a swirl of windblown debris. We had a mile and half walk ahead us of during the most intense part of the windstorm. I covered my head with my arms, thinking if a branch came down, it wouldn't completely split my head open, merely break both of my arms. We trudged on. The trail was strewn with broken branches and tree limbs that would have hurt considerably had they come down on us. I told Roger taking a walk at this time was like heading out for a little swim in the ocean during a freak high tide and high wave event. Roger said, he would have felt safer in that ocean than he did in these trees. We trudged on. The wind continued to roar.

When we arrived home the power was out. We still had our internet connection because our dsl is plugged into a backup power supply unit. I checked online to see how long the power might be out. Of course, there was no time estimate. We set out getting the house ready for the long haul, just in case the outage went on for days, and we needed to use the generator. Extension cords everywhere and lanterns. We were ready. Fortunately, the power was restored in just a few hours, but there was extensive damage to PGE flumes that had an impact on water supplies for our neighbors (we're on a well, so we're okay).
On Sunday we took our rakes out to the road and driveway to clean up the pine needles that were everywhere. The pine needles make the road and driveway pretty slick, so it has to be done. Luckily, it's fun to rake the pine needles, way more fun than shoveling snow.


  1. Glad you two got through the windstorm safely. Raking up the pine needles looked to me like fun! But I wouldn't advise calling for more of the same weather for that little thrill!

  2. I'm glad to know that your power wasn't out too long. I would much rather rake pine needles than shovel snow.

  3. Today was pretty windy here in CT. Brisk, too! Still didn't keep me inside, though, haha.

  4. your drive looks pristine! Weird, whacky winds. Driving down a Sac street, I looked in the rearview mirror to see a major limb come off a tree and smack into the road right after I had passed. It was a close call!

  5. Love the pine needle sweeping video!

    Glad you made it home safely through the forest. I was feeling nervous just reading about the branches falling around you.

  6. Winds up in the Oakland hills were fierce. One block up on Skyline a large tree fell and the driver trying to dodge it was killed. Power was out for several hours How did the cabin stand up?

  7. Glad you came through it unscathed. On these islands we have very little extreme weather and I'm thankful for that.

  8. Not what I like either getting blasted with pine needles and cones. Usualy easier to psh the suff than pull

  9. That was quite the adventure and I'm happy none of your fears were realized. Glad you only had a relatively minimal power outage. Brief ones can be fun and let us test our survival back up plans. Long ones are so tedious. Looks like you have great back up plans.
    Raking pine needles even beats raking leaves.

  10. John-- I really do look forward to raking the pine needles. We have about 500 feet of road and driveway to rake, and we do have fun.

    kenju-- Shoveling snow is such a chore, and it's always cold and wet. Never fun.

    Francine-- A walk in the wind can be delightful.

    Tara-- I know, the driveway looks great, doesn't it? We rake all the way from where Seven Cedars meets our road. That limb coming down right behind must have been pretty spooky stuff. Yikes.

    am-- I have to admit we were a little bit nervous on the walk. The local newspapers had pics of LARGE pine trees down, crashing through houses and blocking major roads. It was quite a wind.

    jivas-- We came down out of the ditch walk on Seven Cedars and didn't pass the cabin. We'll take a walk up there today and take a look around.

    John-- How lucky to not have extremes. Lately it seems all we have are extremes.

    Bill-- It was eerie seeing the air filled with flying debris like that. Made me think how scary it must be to see a tornado coming.

    Patti-- True about brief power outages. When we bought this house in 2010, we had a our first power outage that lasted FIVE DAYS. That's why we bought a generator. Never experienced such a thing before. It was not fun, especially since our well is on an electric pump. Oy.

  11. We've had some high winds lately, but probably not quite that bad. I have cut some trees near the house over the years because I see so many that fall. One big tree fell over the road just as I drove by. It brushed the roof of the car. I was trapped at the county garbage transfer station for a couple of hours until a county crew came out to clear it.

  12. Mark-- That sounds like quite a crazy experience. A bit of a close call. Waiting at the transfer station for a couple of hours doesn't sound like much fun either. Yikes.

  13. Next time, Roger's going to make you rake while he holds the camera, Robin Andrea!

    Our entrance drive is lined with white pines and, if they are in the mood to shed their needles, we get a "slick" just like you did.

    In addition, a few years ago, we had a huge windstorm that split one of the white pines in half vertically and dumped the broken half on the gate at the entrance to our preserve. The sappy, resinous tree was REALLY heavy (it smashed the massive wooden gate, making entrance or egress impossible) and took two days to clean up. If a human had been under the tree when it split, the person would have been killed instantly. You were right to have been concerned when you were walking.

  14. Scott-- There were some major pine tree falls in the general area. One crashed through and completely destroyed a house a couple of miles from us. Another fell across a major road and took out some significant power lines. It was spooky out there. I remember years ago being in Boulder during a Chinook wind storm. 140 mph winds roaring out of the mountains in the middle of the night. It sounded like a train was coming through the house.