Friday, January 25, 2008

An abnormal wind hits home

Literally and figuratively. Just after I posted the last article asking when "disaster" becomes accepted as normal, what has been a normal serious Alaskan front winter storm here in Mill Valley became a hurricane force monster with gusts up to 75 mph blasting across the flatlands that run in alignment with the wind, straight off of Richardson Bay. The big eucalyptus trees across the road were being pushed to angles we'd never seen in 14 years. Then, around 10:30 AM, the whole building (it's an 8-unit, 2-story apartment) shook as if hit by a 2-ton pillow, and there was a loud explosive sound. Not like the electric transformers up the road, that were popping off every ten minutes. But like the building had been whacked with a giant trash can lid.

I put on my Precip jacket and waterproof boots and stepped out the door to see this:

That black shape draping over the trees is a 3o-foot square, 1500-lb chunk of insulated roofing.

Now, I'm not about to claim that this unprecendented wind gust is the spawn of the devil-global-warming. I'm just telling you that the weather has got my attention here in Mill Valley. We're also averaging about 47 degrees for our temperature over December and January. That's down by about 8 degrees from the historical average.

Right now, we're having one of our more familiar winter storms, with minor flooding all around and some slides being reported on area roads. Our reservoirs are still below the level they should be at in late January, but with another storm or two like this one, we should be catching up.

And meanwhile, the workers are still repaing the two units that were flooded when the roof fkew away in the midst of a wind-powered torrential downpour. Just a taste of what storm damage is all about - four of the eight units had to be vacated.

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