The wind event

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Tree limbs and debris in the front yard.

Power was restored in my house last night at around 10 PM, about 48 hours after it went out. My neighbor is still mostly in the dark. A heavy duty extension cord hanging out my kitchen window is providing a bit of comfort to her in the meanwhile. Storms do seem to draw people together.

The other interesting thing that power outages do is they pull people away from their everyday lifes of school, work, and electronics. When I took a walk around the neighborhood I saw kids, home from school, playing ball in the street and walking on downed trees, while their parents stood around talking. Kind of nice. It certainly makes one think about why we only do this as a last resort.

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The tree damage is truly staggering. There have been comments made about why so many trees went down. It would be interesting if scientists studied what happened to determine whether it was just a freakish storm or whether some of our urban horticulture practices – plant choice, irrigation regime, pruning – could be improved. (Lizzie, this is truly a case of Urban Horticulture in Crisis. )

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One of the many fallen large coast live oaks.

As the wind roared through the night on Wednesday, I shone a flashlight out the front window and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There was debris everywhere. The dog was whining, the cat wandering, both would normally have been fast asleep. Several times casement windows and French doors in our century old house flew open, as I rushed around looking for chairs or other heavy objects to hold them in place. For once I was glad that we didn’t dispose of those heavy old stereo amplifiers, they make good door stops.

Correction: The following paragraph is all wrong and my husband never said anything about Bernoulli. I think I must have been dreaming this! Anyway, correction to come in next post. 

My physicist husband later informed me that this happens because when the wind blows past the windows the air pressure is lower outside than inside where the air is still, think paper airplanes and the Bernoulli Effect, (you really have to check out this link which brings back memories of science club and birthday parties where we impressed our children and their friends with how cool science is). Well, I found other evidence that the Bernoulli Effect was at work because not only did the windows and doors fly open, the wind rushed down the chimney, blowing dust throughout the house.No biggy, except that I cleaned house for Thanksgiving and had hoped to let the vacuum cleaner sleep until right before Chanukah (say or think what you will about my housekeeping skills!).

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Please, no comments on either the African mask in the fireplace or the little statues on the sides. Their presence can be explained by a rather complicated story related to the passing of a generation and post-it notes. What kind of surprises me, though, is that the mask didn’t fall over, it is not very steady on the log rack.

The front yard had some pretty serious tree damage. A large avocado tree has lost a lot of mass. It does not produce edible avocados but it does provide shade.The deodar did better, though it too shed some large limbs.

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There are still many large broken limbs hanging in the tree.

Looking at all of the debris and hearing people talk about how to dispose of it, I’m thinking, this is it, I just had a ton of mulch delivered to my front yard, time for the lawn to go. My husband is out of town, but when we spoke on the phone tonight he cautiously asked whether I was planning to get rid of it all. Well… yes… sigh … Let’s see, over 38 years of marriage versus a front lawn of St. Augustine grass… Hmmm.

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The backyard did better – for whatever reason. Though some limbs did fall, mostly the storm dislodged a whole lot of avocados.

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Please let me know if you want some. I will also be bringing them to food kitchens, etc.

The cleanup has just begun. Hopefully power will be restored to the rest of the area, but it would be lovely if we did not forget how nice it is to walk around the neighborhood with no agenda, no activities, just a bit of time.

One thought on “The wind event

  1. Wow, that does look pretty serious. I'm just glad no tree landed directly on your house. Hope it will all get resolved soon.

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