If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen some these photos and commentary already. But there has been too much going on the past few days not to memorialize it in a blog post.
The weather was finally warm enough and I had some free time to pressure-wash our deck. I do this — or force someone else to do it — every summer because the plastic/wood composite decking develops a skim of black mold. It is actually kind of a fun job; I sit in a deck chair, the spray blowback from the pressure washer keeps me cool, and the task itself is very satisfying in the way that coloring is satisfying.
On Friday afternoon I had to quit around 3:00 pm for reasons; at around 6:00 the sky darkened and Smokey, checking the radar online, said, “There is heavy weather heading our way.”
Smokey is not generally inclined to understatement, but that one was a doozy.
The sky darkened the way it always does when a summer thunderstorm approaches… then it darkened to complete blackness.
The wind kicked up and the rain began.
We watched in awe as mature oaks 12″+ in diameter swayed in the wind as the rain blew sideways. The thunder and lightning was constant. We walked from window to window around the house to see what was happening, but eventually decided it was probably safest to watch through the windows on the lee side of the house. (Reading others’ comments on Facebook and in news stories, I realize we may have been among the very few who did not take shelter in the basement. Curiosity did not kill The Kat™. This time.)
After the storm had passed, we took stock.
Because we had no electricity, we decided to go to town to get a bite to eat.
Even if the road pictured were passible, there were numerous other blockages on both gravel roads that lead to the paved township road, which was itself blocked in several places. Lots of trees down. The sound of chain saws was ever-present Friday evening and ever since.
Saturday dawned more or less and, happily, cooler. We had been suffering all week in hot muggy weather, which of course is what had fueled that intense storm. It would have added insult to injury to have that weather without air conditioning. (Note: white people’s problem. We contemplated what it is like in Puerto Rico since hurricane Maria and gave thanks for our repairable infrastructure.)
Surveying the damage in full daylight, we found this.
The corner of our roof. Photo at right is where it came from. The only damage appears to be a dent in the metal flashing.
All in all, we consider ourselves to be lucky. Around our lake, a tree went through the roof of one cabin, two pontoon boats were trashed by falling trees, and others lost many more trees than we did.
Polk County has been declared a [potential] disaster area, depending on how much the clean-up and recovery costs are. Twin Cities TV story about the storm. Josh Hallberg, quoted in the story and shown in the video, is the guy who defeated me in the 2014 county board election. And that 5-1/2″ of rain in the rain gauge? That fell in less than an hour. (Our rain gauge blew over so we don’t know exactly how much we got.)
We have been without electricity or phone service since 7:26 on Friday evening. However, Smokey is exceedingly resourceful. He rigged a car battery to our (newly installed last summer!) fiber optic phone connection so that we can have internet when we need it. Today he got our smaller generator working. (The larger one will have to wait for a new gas tank, expected by the end of the month. Hopefully, we won’t need it by then.)
Word among the folks on our lake, one of whom apparently called the power company, is that we will be off-line possibly until the end of the week. I hope that is them tamping down expectations, but we are doing quite well thanks to my husband’s skills, not to mention his ingenuity and persistence. I keep checking the utility’s outage map; the blue dot marking our lake still does not have a yellow hard hat on it, which would signify a crew had been assigned. There are only 42 service addresses affected here, and fewer than ten are not are seasonal and weekend cabins; it makes sense that our lake will be low on the the priority list for power restoration.
On Sunday Younger Son drove up to help out. The internet and generator situation were smoothed, the driveway was cleared of debris, and merriment abounded. We all went out for dinner as he left; on our way home we saw a caravan of five or six utility bucket trucks heading toward the turnoff to our lake. Sadly, they turned the other way.
As I said, we are fairly lucky. No major damage, no injuries, and nowhere that we have to be in the next few days. Thanks to Smokey we have internet and electricity; I made arrangements to shower and top up our drinking water jugs at a friend’s house tomorrow, and if the outage continues through Wednesday another friend has offered use of her laundry facilities.
It is really a lot like camping, but being able to sleep in our own beds 😉