Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Super D... DO WHAT?

Derecho comes from the Spanish word for "straight" (cf. "direct") in contrast with a tornado which is a "twisted" wind. The word was first used in the American Meteorological Journal in 1888 by Gustavus Detlef Hinrichs in a paper describing the phenomenon and based on a significant derecho event that crossed Iowa on 31 July 1877. -Wikipedia     You can read the article in its entirety here.

Until Saturday night June 30, 2012, I had never even heard of a “Derecho”.  As a matter of fact, I actually thought the weather man said “Horatio” and I got off thinking about Opie Taylor on the Andy Griffith show in  THIS episode and nearly missed the real news of the day.  I cannot use the excuse of heat or storm stress as this kind of thing happens all the time.  Well, at least I am easily amused.   Fact of the matter is…it is just hard to forget “half a boy”!  (be sure to click on that's classic!)

Back to the Derecho.  Apparently, we have the possibility of this type of weather every four years.  Seriously?  Hmm…that means I should have heard about this before…like…well, LOTS of times before.  Never have heard of such a thing.  Frankly, I could have done without this one.A wall of wind hitting with tornado-type force…oh yeah, I’m sure everybody wants to experience that.  Wait a minute!  Two people actually told me (right after the storm) that they wished they could see a tornado.  Yikes.  I told them to go visit Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz or something…we don’t need any tornadoes around here.

Actually, last spring we had a tornadic event here in the Valley. Barns were destroyed and there was damaging hail and a widespread power outage.  It was a real mess and yet another time we were thankful for our generator. Although, I really could have done without the phone call that started out “Mama?  If you hear about a tornado….don’t worry…” 

WHAT?  I think I stopped listening at tornado. I forgot my #1 rule of being a mom.  If they can make the phonecall…they ARE okay.   But, I digress… (see? I think I just proved my point from paragraph one)

The “Super Derecho” of June 29, 2012 will go down in history as one of the costliest weather events in Virginia history. Amazing numbers of folks were affected.  Power outages lasted the better part of a week, and in some more remote parts of the state, even longer than that.  Cars were smashed; huge trees uprooted or twisted off, power lines torn down, cell towers impaired, houses destroyed and lives lost.  We feel incredibly blessed that we didn’t encounter any of these tragedies. While we were hot and inconvenienced, we were together, the animals safe, the freezers frozen and we were able to keep things operational around here. (I even knew where all the “kids” were!)

Despite some of the complaints that surfaced after the incident, there was no real way to prepare for the wall of wind that hit us with such tremendous force.  It was quite fickle in its effects.  In some places one tree would be destroyed and the one next to it would be completely untouched.   A small case in point, our grills in the front yard were completely unmoved, while a bucket in the relative safety of the shed was smashed into the processing sink. A friend related the story of a 400 year-old tree being snapped in half, while the rest of his woodland was relatively unharmed. The force of the wind was truly unbelievable.

This is all that stood between us and normalcy for nearly five days.  A little bunch of branches and leaves tangled in the line caused the fuse to blow. The Boss' experience with the Power Company meant that he had the knowledge and expertise to fix it.  He just lacked the permission and the possible necessary parts. As frustrating as that may seem...there were other folks in far more dire situations than ours.  We couldn't begin to complain!

Our heroes!

Lights on...headin' home

It’s too bad there’s not a way to say THANK YOU to all those power crews who came from across the nation (and even Canada) to help our local companies repair, rebuild and restore the electrical system on which we are all so very dependent.  The soaring temperatures combined with the required protective gear must have been incredibly uncomfortable. They were a most welcome sight to all the overheated and weary residents of the Valley and elsewhere.

As we all get back to normal, many of us will be adding “Super Derecho” to the list of of “been there…done that…”  

 ..and don’t EVER want to do it again!                 

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