June 30, 2012

It Was A Dark & Stormy Night

Although I’d rather it have been a Dark N Stormy cocktail, for all of the damage it did. We were hit on Friday night by a storm system called a derecho. Here’s the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s explanation:

A derecho (pronounced similar to "deh-REY-cho" in English)  is a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms. Although a derecho can produce destruction similar to that of tornadoes, the damage typically is directed in one direction along a relatively straight swath. As a result, the term "straight-line wind damage" sometimes is used to describe derecho damage. By definition, if the wind damage swath extends more than 240 miles (about 400 kilometers) and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph (93 km/h) or greater along most of its length, then the event may be classified as a derecho.

I had been listening to the radio, and while they said there were storms in the area, imagethey were significantly to the west of us, so I didn’t worry. But at about 11:00 p.m. I felt the wind slam into my house. For the next hour, we were battered by wind, rain, thunder and lightning. My power flickered on and off, but stayed on for the duration.

More than 3 million other households, including my mother and my sisters, were not so lucky. As I drove around, I saw orange power cords criss-crossing streets.

Traffic lights at major intersections were out, and limbs were hanging from power lines. The area where I live is filled with 50 to 100-year old trees, and many of them went down in the winds that topped 60 mph. Streets were blocked with fallen treeseverywhere I turned.My poor sister, Bird, who has just finished the kitchen renovation from hell (Thanks to IKEA and their horrible, horrible customer service and even worse sub-contractors!), about three weeks ago, was standing in said kitchen when a branch came hurling through the roof. It struck her, but the force was blunted by the ceiling beams, thank God! To add insult to injury, on the other side of the house, her car, which she’d just paid off, was under a fallen tree. Luckily, Bird is okay, but she has a hole in her roof, with more storms on the way.

I saw some houses which had been hit, although the most of the damage to this one seems not to have been repaired from Hurricane Irene last fall. Such a shame. It’s a gorgeous house, but it looks to be all but abandoned.

I hope you weathered the storm!

42 comments:

  1. Meg, Great white house. Where is it? Wonder what the story is. It looks to have great bones?
    Lisa

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    1. It's in the Guilford section of Baltimore. It's gorgeous, but sad.

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  2. Thank God you and your family are ok. Stay safe.

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    1. Thanks! It could have been much, much worse.

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  3. Glad you are OK. My teens and former sis-in-law were in Bethesda and ran away to PA. There were 2 adults, 5 teens and 1 dog with no power or A/C. Its bad everywhere around me but we somehow had no problem...touch wood.

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    1. Funny! Friends in Bethesda decamped to their farm in PA!

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  4. Jeysus, your poor sister. Extend my sympathies.

    It is still a holy mess here. But we have our power and internet, we too are very lucky.

    I hope the power companies can get this enormous job done soon.

    Take care, we'll be honking on our way by Baltimore tomorrow.

    xo Jane

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    1. Jane... a few inches in a different direction and it would have been a whole nother story.

      Just read about the power companies and they said this storm was about 3/4 as much damage as Irene, but that they had time to prepare for Irene. They didn't realize this storm was coming until 10, when it made it over the mountains without breaking up.

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  5. My goodness! I drove by the house in Guilford last weekend, at your recommendation, and wondered why it was so forlorn. Sad. It is always sickening to see mature trees come down in such storms. We have lost many of ours over the years in freak storms. Mother Nature. She's a force to be reckoned with, I'll say. Best of luck to you and yours! Reggie

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    1. So many trees down, and so much damage. It's pretty shocking. Power might not be back until mid-week!

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  6. I've lived through tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards...even volcanic eruptions. Yet nothing like last night's storm. It was eerie, although exciting in a strange way. Thankfully here in Annapolis it wasn't as horrifying as elsewhere, and we have power and no damage. Daughter invited a friend to stay with us who wasn't as lucky, and whose parents are vacationing in Europe. Can only imagine how scared she must have been. So glad to hear you and Connor are well, and sending good thoughts that BGE takes care of your mother and sisters soon!

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    1. Gretchen... the amount of lightning was amazing. I had to look out several times to make sure of what it was.

      Luckily everyone's under BGE, not PEPCO, which is horrible. I had friends in Chevy Chase without power for SIX days after Irene!

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  7. That was some storm. I can't help but think of now homeless birds and animals. Your poor sister first IKEA then this. I agree with the assessment of their customer service, no better here.

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    1. I agree about the birds.

      Funnily, one sister did a kitchen with Ikea and it was smooth-sailing, so the other one did it too. It was horrible. Different Ikeas, but that shouldn't have made a difference.

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  8. OMG Meg, horrendous! Your poor sis, so glad she's OK. It seems she may get the chance for another kitchen and I'm sure she will steer clear of Ikea! Glad you survived. Do we have to brace for this in the UK now I wonder. They always seem to hit us a week later.
    Di
    X

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    1. Di.. this was heat-related at it's core, so it probably broke up as soon as it was over the ocean. It's been 40C here all week. It's horrible.

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  9. That was really some storm...so sorry to hear about your sister's home and car. Thank goodness she wasn't hurt. So many people had damage to their homes and so many still without power this morning. It's going to be a long day for those without power for fans or ac with the heat and humidity. Your photo of the extension cord running across the street reminded me of when I was a child living in Overlea. The folks on the other side of the street always had their power go out while our house rarely lost electric. My parents had a cord ready to run to the neighbor's house directly across the street.

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    1. During one of the hurricanes, my parents were living in Ruxton, and didn't have power for a week, while the people on the other side of the street did.

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  10. What a mess! Glad to hear you're OK - and thanks for mentioning Bermuda's Dark and Stormy - that's how we manage the pain of hurricanes :-)

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    1. Ha! If I had some Goslings, I'd have been throwing them back, but I only had Mt. Gay!

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  11. Glad your sister was not injured by such a close call. That must have been frightening for her. That white house is heartbreaking -- it always seems to hurt more when something beautiful is left to fall in disrepair, or to see huge trees that have lived to a great age ripped from the ground. Hopefully, someone will rescue that beautiful home.

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    1. Can't tell you how glad we are that she's okay! It could have been fatal.

      And yes, that white house breaks my heart, too.

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  12. When I heard about the storm last night, I immediately thought about you........I'm glad that you are OK. But the damage looks to be enormous. Sending love and prayers for you and your family. My heart breaks for the loss of the beautiful trees. xoxo Mary

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    1. Huge damage. Three million without power and it's predicted to be 100* again today.

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  13. Oh my goodness! Even though I heard reports of the storms, your pics are the first I've seen of the damage. So horrible for your sister and all those with damage. That storm must have been scary as hell. A suggestion for the time y'all are without power; get together with your neighbors and schedule check-ins daily, particularly with those who are elderly. This heat is unbelievably dangerous. Two little boys down here died from the high temps. They were out playing and their mother found them lying out in the yard, unconscious. Heart-breaking. My hopes are that y'all will be restored soon.

    Down here in Alabama, many are still recovering from April 17, 2011 tornadoes. Some aren't even back in their homes yet. Many won't go back.

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    1. Cyndia... multiply my images by 10,000! and maybe you'll have a small picture of the damage. So sad.

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  14. Good lord. And I have a huge tree (on my property - RATS) worrying me at the moment. Now I won't sleep for a week.

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    1. I have two trees, but they're pretty small. Just lots of twigs and leaves down.

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  15. OMG MEG!!! This was a horrible storm that you and Connor weathered together! I am sad for all the people who have suffered loss and all those beautiful mature trees now littering the landscape! Hope EVERYONE is made right very soon!

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    1. It was pretty amazing. I hate seeing so much damage.

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  16. Wow. Huge. And your sister must have been traumatized.

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  17. I am still in shock over the storms that came through the area. We live in the city of B'more, but were away in NC during the storms. I can't imagine how horrible they must have been. It's tragic to see all the damage.

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    1. Tricia...if you are downtown, it's a totally different world than where there are tons of trees.

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  18. This looks like CT did last August and October: after TS Irene and WS Alfred. My parents were trapped in their house because both sides of the old farm road just outside the development had downed trees in the road. With crews not getting to it for most of the 10 days they went without power. I just hope your power companies can get things sorted out much faster than the ones up here.

    On the upside these are once in a decade/generation type storms that sort out the dead/dying/weak trees.

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    1. The the difference is that with a TS or hurricane, there is advance notice. Not with this storm. It really caught everyone off guard.

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  19. so sorry about your sister + glad she was not hurt badly!IKEA that's another story. Glad you did not loose power. Take care. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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    1. All of my siblings lost power. My brother got his back on mid-day Sunday. Everyone else is still powerless.

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  20. I know that house - it sits at the top of Saint Pauls Street and has a bizarre story behind it.

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  21. Wow! I've never heard of a derecho. Hope your sister has plenty of insurance coverage and gets lots of help with quick repairs. She must really feel like the sky has fallen. 106 degrees is almost more than I can stand in my neck of the woods. The birds are suffering mightily. But it looks like we have a cool down coming, and the weather map shows showers already popping up not too far away. Stay cool!

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    1. Honestly, I don't think any repairs are going to be quick. Not with the way this storm hit!

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  22. We had a derecho here in the 90's and it was terrifying, but because of our low population the impact was more on nature than people. I'm glad you, Connor and your house are OK. It's sad to see so many photos of destruction.

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