Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Storm Damage

Early Friday morning (somewhere between 4:00 and 4:30, I think), we woke to the sounds of worsening weather. I got up (because I can't just sit there under those circumstances) and turned on the TV in search of radar. Yes, there it was, bright reds and yellows all over the place.

Suddenly, the noise increased to the point that I deemed it wise to skedaddle off to the hall bath (no windows-- small, interior room-- our best bet for hiding from scary weather). No-one followed, and by the time I'd called out to give Donald a word or two of advice (i.e. "Oh, Donnn-ald! Yoo-hoo! Honey-Bunches-of-Oats*, I think you should probably get in here right now."), the worst of it was already dying down. (g)

Anyway, while it was bad, it sounded very bad, I thought. The wind was absolutely roaring, and there were frightening thuds as things hit the roof and exterior walls. (Whenever that happens, I beat a hasty retreat to the hall bath and pray that we don't blow away.)

Once the wind had subsided, we peeked into the backyard. We caught a few glimpses when the lightning lit up the landscape, but it wasn't until after sunrise that we could see the damage. Mostly, it was "tree debris" littering the yard. Lots of pine cones and needles-- many small branches. There were also a few larger branches, and quite a bit of mistletoe, of all things. (I quickly snapped those up when I saw them, because I seem to recall that it's very toxic, so likely Trixie would choose that twig to gnaw, out of the thousand available.) Some of the branches we found must have blown a decent distance, because there are no trees of that kind right next to our yard. Two pines that had been killed in previous storms toppled over, and I've noticed at least two more pines visible from our back yard that were snapped off. We also saw that we had shingles off the roof in two spots. (Off the roof and into the yard. I had to pick them up and move them out of the yard before I could trust Trixie on her own. The crazy dog would probably have tried eating them, otherwise.)

Unfortunately, we were in for another line of storms, Friday night/Saturday morning. Knowing this, Donald went onto the roof and patched one of the spots missing shingles. Thunder was approaching, and he thought the other spot looked well-protected still with tar paper, so we left it as it was. For future reference, that was probably not our most shining moment, in terms of foresight. (g)

The next morning, I found a thin line of wetness in the ceiling directly below the spot we thought was sealed with tar paper. Oops... After Donald had gone up into the attic to take measures to allow that spot to dry (and check the extent of the leak), I made another unpleasant discovery-- a larger wet spot in our dining room ceiling! I'd been kicking myself over the first leak, but at least this one we couldn't have prevented, anyway. We couldn't see any damage to the roof in that location.

So, fast-forward a bit. We knew to expect more rain for Tuesday (yesterday), so on Monday afternoon, Donald went up on the roof to up a new layer of tar paper over the spot we knew might leak. He also put a couple of waterproof "makeshift tarps" (an old shower curtain liner and a waterproof tablecloth) in the attic, over the two spots where we'd had leaks, along with a towel at the mystery leak location. It did rain yesterday, but in the evening, we found that everything was dry. We're hoping that the leak in the dining room ceiling was due to rain blowing under the ridge vent, trickling down a rafter, and just happening to drip off at that point (where two boards butt together unevenly).

We've called a roofer to come and give ours a look-- just in case there's more damage than meets the eye-- but I'm really hoping that he'll say it's in good shape (apart from the two spots we already know need some attention). Donald inspected the shingles in several places, while he was up there, and it doesn't seem as though the seal has been broken (which is a problem my parents had after Hurricane Ivan). We did have hail in those storms, but nowhere near as bad as we've had before, and the edges of the shingles don't look feathered. . . Anyway, one way or the other, I'll be glad to have that inspection finished. Unfortunately, it may take a while before he comes. Roofers in this area should have plenty of work for a good while to come:

Story from one local channel's website:

Damage survey shows straight line winds

B. CO., Ala. - A damage survey team from the National Weather Service in Mobile has completed an initial damage assessment of the storms that moved through the R. and E. communities of central B. County Friday morning.

The team found evidence of damaging winds that occurred along the leading edge of a severe bow echo that moved through the R. and E. areas between 4:00 a.m. and 4:15 a.m. Friday morning.

The team found a path of straight line wind damage from 200 to 400 yards wide and was near two miles long. the worst damage along the path occurred near the County Road 85 area just north of US Highway 90 where six single family homes of varying construction techniques experienced significant structural damage to roofs and walls.

Several out-buildings and smaller structures were also destroyed near several residences along the path of damaging winds. All of the evidence was consistent with a 120 mph straight line wind event where all of the debris was blown in a single direction from west-southwest to east-northeast.

I've put up some video that I filmed Friday morning. It's mostly just missing shingles-- very exciting stuff. ;o) If you want to be able to read the text, you'll probably have to go to Vimeo to see it larger, but I'll embed it here anyway...

March 27th, 2009 Storm from Michael Johansson on Vimeo.

We may be getting more rain tomorrow and toward the end of the weekend. I hope our temporary roof fixes hold up!

*I don't actually say "yoo-hoo" or call Donald "Honey-Bunches-of-Oats", by the way. That was purely for comic effect. Just making sure that was clear. . .