Tennessee Storms

Rather than posting on my cover letter/resume series yesterday, my husband and I spent our day trying to avoid tornadoes.

We were awakened at about 5:45 AM by the wind, followed by what sounded like some rather large hail on our metal roof. But before we could figure out what was going on, the wind stopped blowing quite so hard and the flow from Niagra Falls which was hitting our house ratcheted back to a just a hard rain. As the daylight strengthened (and I got my contacts put in by candlelight) we saw the damage.

We didn’t have hail hitting the roof; it was pieces/parts of trees. It’s not clear if we actually had a tornado go over the house (it certainly didn’t touch down), or if we just had straight-line winds, but for about one mile along our road, there is much worse damage to trees than there is anywhere else along the road.

We have a large hickory tree uprooted and laying on our truck. What you can’t see in the picture, though, is that there is also a small horse trailer parked in front of the truck. The bulk of the tree is laying on the hood of the truck, and the trailer is only under the branches. There doesn’t appear to be any damage to the trailer. Which is unfortunate; when we looked out our bathroom window and saw a tree over both, we hoped it was on top of the horse trailer, not the truck. Neither has full coverage insurance, and we’d much rather lose the old trailer than our truck.

We’re hoping the truck is covered under our homeowner’s. If it’s not, we’re hoping it’s not crushed beyond use. If we have to, we can bondo any holes in the roof, replace the windshield and find a way to bolt the driver’s-side mirror back on. But if the hood is now inside the engine, we’re shit out of luck.

We lost trees all around our house, but luckily none fell on the house (the branches that landed on it don’t seem to have done any roof damage, but we need to make a visual inspection).

We lost one large hickory tree, one smaller one, and a medium-sized branch in a third. My husband said he’s set on hickory wood for the meat smoker for a very long time. I’ve heard of making lemonade from lemons, but smoking chips from broken trees?

Our worse tree loss, though, was a large cedar tree on the corner of our property, next to our driveway. This was a tree that you could barely wrap your arms around. It helped hide the house from the road, giving us privacy. But now it’s gone–sheared off about 12 feet above the ground.

We lost part of another cedar tree on the road frontage, but it’s not so bad that we have to cut it down; it should survive as is.

But here’s a really weird thing: when I was out taking pictures, at about 8 AM, I heard something in the yard; it sounded like water gurling in a drain, and it sounded like it was coming from the ground.

I went towards the sound, then knelt down in the grass and dug for it. There I found a hole in the ground–a little smaller than a bathtub drain–and the water ponding in our yard was draining into it–just like water spiraling down a bathtub drain. I knelt there for a couple of minutes, but it never stopped. I knew then it was not just a mole hole filling up (and we have some extensive subturranean mole networks in our yard).

When we got home last night, at 8 PM–a full 12 hours later–I listened and heard it. I took my husband over to it, and he shined a flashlight on it. It was still the same size and still draining away. I just hope it doesn’t end up as a sinkhole in the middle of the front yard. We have a few other sinkholes around the property, but they’re mostly out of the way (the one in the ditch, by the road, is even useful; we never have flooded ditches); having to mow around one in the yard would suck, though. Filling them in doesn’t work, because water will continue to drain in that spot, and, over time, it just flushes all the dirt down the drain.

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