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Storm writeup - Doug Ayen's Blacksmithing Blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Doug Ayen

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Storm writeup [Jun. 30th, 2012|08:03 pm]
Doug Ayen
I survived, at least so far -- still no power, so no well, no AC, no TV. Yes, I have Internet, some things are important. A writeup of what I experienced (it was spectacular) and some musings below the cut.


For those wondering why I'm not decamping and holing up in a hotel or at a friends for the duration, the this is, I've prepared for this, extensively. For years, I've kept water, food, fuel for the campstove, generators ready, etc. I'm getting stinky, so I dragged out the old solar shower, taking it out of it's bag for the first time since . . . long before I moved here. Baitcon 1993 at a guess. I've been out scavenging wild edibles in the morning (berries, wild garlic and onions, mint for tea, the last of the slightly overripe green gage plumbs, puffballs, and four nests worth of various birds eggs. I could have gotten a fawn who though he was hiding under a bush, but that would have been excessive.

And if you don't use it, you don't know if it works. The solar shower has cracks in it, both wheels are flat and de-beaded, and my battery-jumper/air-pump thing got it's plug knocked out long enough ago that it was flat -- so I dragged it the 300' from where it lives in the shop (I moved it from the garage because I wanted the space) up to the house -- but what if something like this had happened when we had nearly 4' of snow in 48 hours?

At any rate, the show was worth it: A few booms in the distance, but then much louder was the noise of wind -- yet when I stepped outside, it was dead calm. The rushing noise kept getting louder, yet still the hot, muggy air (102F and 90% humidity) wasn't moving. Finally, with the ground shaking with the noise (hey, I'm on clay, just about any loud noise will shake the ground a bit here) I could see the tops of the trees just start flailing away viciously -- this only 300 feet away, yet I could feel nothing.

A cloud of debris was visibly moving, the branches, leaves, and debris moving rapidly yet almost randomly, lit by lighting. Oh, the lightning. Due to the noise of the wind, or the thermal inversion layers, or something, the earlier thunder just wasn't audible -- but the lighting was steadily increasing as the noise grew, from the occasional dim flicker to the current rapid-fire flashes reflected from or maybe filtered through the low clouds, multiple such per second, strobing the trees so instead of moving from pose to pose, yet each pose clearly in visible motion, yet impossible to determine how it got there. Then, for what seemed like an hour, but was only a fraction of a second, a tree hit a power line and caused an arc that lit the neighborhood bright as day -- no, brighter, if you glanced at it.

The trees looked alive, what are normally nigh-perpendicular columns twisted like the limbs of 200-foot-tall cephalopods, no longer flailing, but visibly showing the individual currents of wind as they whipped through graceful arcs, leaves and branches ripping away from their anchors as they over stressed, yet for the most part holding together, and whipping back the other way as a new gust takes it.

And then the winds hit ground level, and I could feel the cool winds and the starting rain. The gusts slowed down, the thunder could be heard again, and the show was over.

Oh, one last thing: why I don't have power right now is because of this tree on this line, right across the street. That was the source of the arc I mentioned.

tree on line
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: kimberlogic
2012-07-01 12:25 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this - I figured you were ok and better-prepared than most but it is still good to hear from you :)
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[User Picture]From: dianec42
2012-07-01 01:00 am (UTC)
I could have gotten a fawn who though he was hiding under a bush, but that would have been excessive.

This made me giggle.

Glad to hear you are doing well!
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[User Picture]From: tamidon
2012-07-01 01:48 am (UTC)
glad to hear you're OK
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[User Picture]From: cz_unit
2012-07-01 03:53 am (UTC)
I tell you, it was wicked. We have massive trees, and to see them bend like that with a full load of leaves was uncomfortable. But they all survived.

As for testing things, that too. I just leave the shed on solar, it allows me to constantly use the inverter and the like and watch out for pending failures. I am however now thinking of switching over to the Matrix UPS, so I can have real 240 volt center-tapped power. But I would need another set of batteries to make that happen.

Perhaps. I can make coffee, but I would like to survive the apocalypse in style...

CZ
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[User Picture]From: rmd
2012-07-01 11:37 am (UTC)
And if you don't use it, you don't know if it works

I'm glad your unscheduled test of your DR systems is going off fairly well. :)
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[User Picture]From: klingonlandlady
2012-07-02 04:12 am (UTC)
Yes, this. Glad you are ok!
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