Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Just a quick recap of our last week as we experienced our first hurricane. Last Tuesday night, we began preparing the house. It took several hours and a trip to the store (where it was absolute bedlam) to board up three windows, so we decided that instead of trying to board up the other 22 windows in our house without the proper supplies or a ladder to reach our second story we would adjust our stretegy from damage prevention to damage mitigation. We figured replacing the windows was on our eventual 'to do' list anyway. We spent Wednesday morning pulling everything we owned away from windows to limit water damage to our furniture and such in case windows did break. 

We cleared out the fridge so that we could disconnect the power. We shut off the water. We packed some changes of clothes and some things to keep the kids entertained. We set up a pen in the garage for the chickens and managed to catch two of them to stick in there. Then, we left.

We headed out in the late afternoon while the weather was still nice, though the clouds were moving quickly. Beachside islands and low-lying areas were already given mandatory evacuations, so traffic was heavy. It took us 3 1/2 hours to get to Lakeland, about twice the normal time. We checked into our hotel, which was very full. Everybody seemed to be from Brevard County. The girls were stoked to eat fast food for dinner. We spent Thursday hanging around Lakeland, playing at Chic-fil-a and walking around the mall playing pokemon go. It rained on and off that evening. Forecasts has worsened and were predicting a near-to-direct hit from the eye of the hurricane right where we live. Micah and I were awake most of the night on and off, watching the weather channel. The eyewall  was rotating just miles from our home. Towards morning, our neighbor texted us to let us know a tree had fallen. Then, later, another neighbor texted us a photo of our house to let us know it was okay. No big structural damage visible. We breathed a sigh of relief, took a nap, and then took the kids out to play miniature golf and explore an indoor gymnasium place. We celebrated by eating dinner at Longhorn. We tried to get a good nights' sleep to recover from several very sleepless nights and to prepare for the work ahead. Saturday morning we drove back, with sunny skies and minimal traffic. Many utility trucks heading towards the coast, though.

All of our chickens were fine, even Speck, who we found huddling in the coop, reluctant to come out. Ironically, Speck has continued laying eggs through this whole ordeal and the days since while Blondie and Red are both taking a break. Sheesh! 

We still had electricity and water, though there was a precautionary water boil for a short time.

A 60 foot tree in our front yard (which I have conclusively ID'ed as an American Sycamore) miraculously fell right between our house and our neighbors' without causing any major damage to either. It did put a ping in our fence and destroyed the gate on his fence. We felt very responsible for the damage, but he has insisted on us not paying for its repair. It also fell on our neighbor's power line and yanked it off the pole. He fortunately still had power, though, which was fortunate as they took several days to repair it. 

"Back up! Live wire on the ground here!"

 The roots looked perfectly healthy, no major rot or anything. The ground just got saturated enough from rain and the top of the tree caught so much wind that it got pulled right up.

The backyard was littered with small and medium debris everywhere. 

We have one other rather large Sycamore right off the back of our house that lost a branch, but we are lucky it didn't meet the same fate as the one out front. Now we may consider removing this one before next fall.

We haven't found much damage inside, though we haven't checked in ever nook and cranny. We do have a couple of spots like this where the trim has separated from the wall a bit. Our house has a wood frame, so it bends slightly with high winds. Nothing big to be concerned about.

We are still trying to get back to normal. Our fridge is still a bit empty and we have a lot of laundry to do. I'm really sore from cleaning up Saturday and Sunday, but grateful that we got help cleaning up our tree and had a chance to help a few others along our street.

Altogether, we didn't far too badly. Definietly want to look into storm shutters and tree removal before next storm season, but grateful that the storm didn't hit us harder. 

No comments:

Post a Comment