09 May 2009

A Close Call

This is the back of the barn, or what's left of it after the thunderstorm of this morning. I woke up about 7 a.m. to the sound of thunder and the feel of my Spikey dog shaking in fear. The poor guy is terrified of thunder so I put my arms around him and spoke soothing words to help him get through the storm. But the storm didn't abate as was expected. It got a lot worse really fast and the wind intensified a great deal. A great deal.
On an intellectual level I knew I needed to get moving and get the dogs downstairs and unplug the computer and see to the windows and whatnot. But I have to confess something: for a very brief moment the wind was so strong that I thought there was no point in getting out of bed because I was going to die before I could make it down the stairs. That's how strong the winds were.
Here's a picture of a block ripped out of its concrete home.

Let me put this in perspective. I've lived in the Ozarks of southwest Missouri all of my nearly 32 years and I've had a lot of scares. We've had lightning strike 10 feet behind our house. We've had lightning run in on our phone line and blow up our computer. Granted, the computer just made a little pop and a puff of smoke but the simultaneous huge crash of thunder scared the holy hell out of all of us. We've had an ice storm that turned our homeland into a disaster area. There was a time when we had so much water running through our driveway that we couldn't get a car through it. And we've had tornadoes jump from street to street and just narrowly miss our house. But I have never seen or felt anything like this. The jury is out as to whether or not we had an actual tornado do this damage or if it was just strong winds. I honestly don't know if I care.

Tornado or not it did some pretty serious damage and it could have killed us. If this force had hit our house instead of the very back of the barn things could have been a lot worse. I've already said it several times today and I'll say it again: if I had been given a choice as to where the damage would be done that's the spot I would have chosen. The barn is the least important of our buildings and it sits the farthest away from the house. The back of the barn is a good 200 yards or so from the house and there's a big ass three car garage between it and the house. There's also a bunch of trees and a short fence between the house and the barn which somehow managed to keep a lot of the wreckage from reaching the house.

The winds were so strong for so long I was expecting the big front windows to get blown out at any second. I was waiting for windows all over the house to burst apart with load crashes. I was hoping the roof of the house would stay attached. After it was finally over I was expecting to find numerous dead critters when I stepped outside. As it was we did have one dead tree frog on the back porch. Amazingly enough it doesn't seem like any of the barn cats were hurt. I don't know exactly how many live back there as they rarely show themselves but I walked all over the area and found no bodies. You see that smashed up metal fence? That was a nearly 8 foot wide circle that surrounded our compost pile. You can just make out the roses this wreckage is smashing. But we can't move anything until the insurance adjuster shows up sometime in the next few days. It won't be quick as there have been so many claims called in to our local office. And while I'm not looking forward to the $1000 deductible I am very thankful that the damage wasn't any worse.

In the above image you can just make out part of the 80 feet of wiring that was pulled out.

I'm not entirely sure the depth of the situation has set in. I'm not ready for philosophical musings. The facts are too close to me right now. I am unable to clearly express myself about this. I haven't had time to gain perspective as I'm still kinda freaked out. I probably won't sleep for a while for fear of a similar rude awakening. Perhaps in the coming days, or months, I'll have something profound to say about the happenings of today. For now though, all I can come up with is "holy shit!" and "praise the gods!"


Moonroot said...

Holy Shit and Praise the Gods indeed!

Glad to hear you are all OK, despite the damage. Any extreme weather event is scary, but I think strong winds are the worst as they're so unpredictable. The idea of a tornado scares the hell out of me. Luckily they're a rare event in this country.

Hope you get it all sorted out soon. Blessings to you.

Livia Indica said...

Hi Moonroot! Thanks so much for the good wishes; they are appreciated!

Aquila ka Hecate said...

Also relieved that you all lived through it. Except maybe more than one tree frog.

Here in Africa we get Mother storms, but very few tornadoes. We've had trees uprooted before around the area I live in, but that's all. Lightning is a much more serious threat. Although right now, as we start Winter, it's unaccountably raining its head off on the Highveld. Most unusual.

Terri in Joburg

Livia Indica said...

Hi Aquila ka Hecate! I am a the same time sad about the tree frog and yet relieved. Maybe he/she was the sacrifice necessary to keep the rest of us animals alive?

Here in tornado alley we have the entire range of weather to fear. Wind, rain, floods, hail, lightning, you name it. But I guess we're lucky in that lightning is a comparatively minor issue.

What exactly is a Mother storm? Just a big storm?

RetroKali said...

Oh my goodness....glad you are your loved ones are o.k.!

Aquila ka Hecate said...

Ya- just a big storm I guess! But it's very beautiful. Thunder loud, lightning dazzling, rain torrential. Very visual.
When we moved back to South Africa from England back in the early '70s, my brother and I were spellbound by the night storms circling around my aunt's farm - so different from the grey drizzle we'd got used to. We were every bit as entranced at the violent dumpers off the coast, and swam in them until Mom got fightened for us.
That's Africa - violent, showy, and both terrifying and beautiful.
The people as well as the weather.

Terri in Joburg

Marion said...

Wow! I'm so glad you're alright. I know what you're saying when you say you are still 'freaked out'. I've been in a house where the windows bow inward from the Wind...there are no words to describe the force of it.

I don't know if one of my dogs would have made it, even with my arms around him. He absolutely despises Wind...and with a storm like you just experienced, I don't know what the outcome would have been. Stay well, Livia!

Livia Indica said...

Hi RetroKali, thanks, me too!

Terri, I hadn't thought about it before but I guess the rains of England would be pretty tame to a full blown thunder and windstorm. I have a love/hate relationship with them. Beautiful, awe inspiring and deadly!

Hi Marion! Wow, windows that bow with the wind? That's freaky! Poor critters, I feel so bad when animals are frightened of weather or loud noises. Thanks for the good wishes!

Griffin said...

Well yes the storm you're talking about is rare in the UK, but we did have one in 1987 that hit Sussex and that did the sort of things yours did.

Still, I see these storms as useful to us mere humans. They remind us that for all our techie know-how we are not nearly as powerful as we'd like to think. That Nature can turn over in her sleep and squish us any time she chooses.

I suspect the barn cats fled and went into hiding mode! They are usually pretty smart when the Wind-cat calls.

Glad you're ok and your Spikey dog too!

Sorry for the poor little tree frog tho'.

Jenavira said...

Holy shit is right! I'm glad no one was hurt, and that the damage wasn't more serious.

The closest I ever came to a scare like that was when a tornado ripped out an old tree in our front yard when I was, oh, eight or so. We lived on top of a small but fairly steep hill, which the tree was perched on, so fortunately it just went down into the street and didn't damage any buildings. I was eight, so I just thought it was cool, but thinking about it now gives me the heebie jeebies.

Brian Charles said...

Glad you all survived. You are right, The UK does not normally have such extreme weather - but there were a couple of great storms with hurricane force winds in the 80s in which I remember running for cover as roof tiles flew across the streets and seeing the huge trees fallen across the roads. Luckily the fatalities only reached low double figures. Here in Budapest, however, there have been some amazing thunderstorms.

Cygnus MacLlyr said...



No. No; just great to see, hear, and know what to expect. We have the same intensity here a bit farther south, so I won't be unprepared for the Coming (or my moving!lol!), but... SO GOOD to have first-hand accounts...

THANKS, Livia.

Two more things:

Good to hear, though the barn seems in need of a nail and a board or three, that naught else suffered (and i mean your little dog, too!!! HAR!)

And ... WHO IS that new face adorning your site?!?

Sweet update, Lady Liv...

Slainte, woman.

Livia Indica said...

Hi Griffin! Yeah, on one level I see the importance of severe weather. It keeps us humble, it's a natural function of things. But this is the first time we've had such damage and I'm having a harder time than usual seeing things in any other than a "holy shit" mode.

Hi Jenavira! Wow, having a tree ripped up is pretty major!

Brian, I didn't know you folks over there could get hurricane force winds!

Hi Cygnus, Yeah, our barn is a little rough looking now. Well, it wasn't great to begin with anyway. Poor Spike, there are girl dogs around her in heat and he apparently tried to use some of the wreckage to jump the fence. It didn't work and he's got very sore ribs and hips now. And tonight someone was setting off fireworks so he's a sore, nervous wreck.

You like the new pic? I took about 2 dozen and finally decided that was the least offensive/ridiculous one of the bunch.

Teacats said...

So very glad that you (and your household) made their way through the huge storm. After moving here to Texas -- I must admit to feeling so afraid of any storm -- of any size or type. It is amazing to watch the radar and see the storms writhe and change as they make their way across the area! Hope you are able to re-build or mend the barn and the gardens ....

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

mrsb said...

Holy Crap! That must have been some storm! Glad you were safe with the shaking pup!

Livia Indica said...

Jan, hi there! Yeah, I hear you can get some wicked storms in Texas too. Not to mention those hurricanes near the coast!

Mrs. B., yep, we held on for deal life!

Sara said...

How scary. I used to live in central Texas and we got quite a few storms. I still dream about them. Glad you are safe.

Livia Indica said...

Yep, me too!

Riverwolf, said...

Very glad you're all safe!

beweaver said...

holy mighty winds batman!

So glad you are all right. You have some nice strong wards around your home. Well done.

Livia Indica said...

Hi Riverwolf, yeah, every day when I revisit the damaged areas I am thankful that we weren't hurt. I keep going out there thinking I'll feel different about it but still all I've got is "holy shit."

Hi Beweaver, I've done all sorts of magical things to protect this home. There's witchified jars buried all around as well as goddess rocks hanging up here and there. I've also done some honoring of the local land and tree spirits. I think some of those things must have helped; thanks for reminding me!

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Yes, i like that people update the photos.. This one is very suiting to YOU...

Um, mine's only, like, two months old... so I guess, by blogger standard, I'm good for a decade or two... HA!

G'nite, Lady!