Hurricane Fiona was reclassified as a post-tropical cyclone by the time it hit
Nova Scotia, but everyone here, including government agencies, is
calling it a hurricane, and I will do the same for the sake of convenience. Sustained winds reached 165 km/hr in some places. The destruction was felt primarily in the northeastern counties and Cape Breton. I live in one of those northern counties, and there are still a significant number of people who have been warned not to expect their power to be restored until as late as next weekend -- three weeks in total without power. There were so many downed power lines and so many trees in, around, and tangled up with those lines that it has been a laborious process to get it all fixed. Our province's power crews have been helped by others from across Canada and northeastern New England (in the USA), and the military has also contributed manpower to move trees and do other tasks. I realize that this hurricane, like so many others, brought much worse conditions and results to countries further south. But for us, this was a record storm and a sobering reminder that this could be our new normal.
The roar of the wind at the peak of the hurricane was incredible. The wind was coming from the north, hitting the back of our house full on. It sounded like a locomotive was passing behind the house -- for four hours straight. Not long after it reached that pitch and volume, I heard a very loud tearing noise. It was the power line from our house to the street, pulling away from the house. There was no sleep for me until the wind decreased somewhat. I couldn't even bring myself to lie down. I sat in a chair to be ready -- for what, I don't know. I have no idea what I could have done if the wind had torn off the roof (it happened to other people) or caused some other kind of damage or imminent danger. At dawn I was able to see that my neighbour's tree had split down the middle, with one side bringing down both their lines and mine.
The smell throughout the house during the storm was of smashed leaves and torn branches. It was the most exotic, intoxicating, and eerie smell I have ever experienced. It felt like the storm was trying to come right in the house. I don't think I will ever forget that smell. The next day, the north sides of people's homes were littered with pulverized bits of leaves. They stuck to windows and siding and needed to be removed by brush or broom -- a laborious process but one I also found meditative and comforting. The day was sunny and warm -- typical of weather here following hurricanes or tropical storms -- and quiet except for the buzz of chain saws all over the neighbourhood.
Seven of the trees in my back yard came down fully or partially. That was the story all over our county. People started cleaning up the day after the storm, making piles of branches and trees and sawn-up tree trunks at the curb, awaiting town pickup. As the week went on, nighttime temperatures started dipping to zero. My brother came from three hours away, bringing us a generator and heater. The next day he drove here again with his chain saw which he used to fell and cut up six of those trees. Together, we carried or dragged almost everything to the curb, although he did most of it as I had to keep checking on my mother. We spent two days doing that.The following day my son came from two hours away to finish the job. Anything not at the curb when the town crew came by would have had to be removed by homeowners at considerable expense. I'm grateful for the help I received to avoid that expense.
I was told by those who saw it personally that whole sections of trees along the highway were either flattened or broken off partway up their trunks, all in the same direction, north to south; lines of trees along country lanes were toppled across the lanes, again from north to south; and crews had to use earth moving equipment to push downed trees away so the power company could get to downed poles.
The only damage to my house was a row of shingles that came off, the shattering of the mast for the electrical connection, some siding at the point of connection, and one downspout. I felt very lucky to have been spared worse damage. My mother's house was not affected at all except for a small insulator which broke free from the place where it had been bolted to her house (and which caused a delay in her power restoration). If only I'd had my chimney inspected prior to the storm (a job I had in fact contacted a company to do prior to Fiona ever forming in the south), we could have been comfortable using the the wood stove. But I was not about to add chimney fire to the chaos and destruction.
More to come.
|Smashed leaves at my back door|
|One of my downed trees|
|Some of the damaged lines in front of my house, backlit by a beautiful sky at dusk. Normally there are two bundles of wires coming from the right side of that post, one to my house and one to my neighbours' house.|
I took more pictures; unfortunately, it was twilight and they were very blurry. I didn't check them because it was so dark by then and we had no lights. Ah, well. Them's the breaks.
That description of the wind sounding like a train is good...I remember my home in North Wales in the 90s having a storm or three like that...and the slates on the roof rippling in waves...
I am so grateful that your own damage was minimal. The damage in some areas has sounded horrific. I can only imagine that smell...
And mourn for the lost trees.
Thank you for this update dear friend. Huge hugs.
I'm glad you survived and had help with the cleanup. I lived through a storm like that -- Sandy broke right over my house, screaming roaring wind hour after hour, much damage all around. You don't forget it, even if you came out of it not too badly. So I'm sorry you had to endure it, but glad you're back, online, and vertical!
I'm glad your house didn't sustain too much damage, and that you had help cleaning up the downed trees. I worked for a tree service in Oakland for a few years, so I know what that's like.
That's a long time to go without power. We had the power off for six days last year after a "Mono Wind Event" and it seemed like forever. Zsuzs was out of town at the time, and when she got back she said "I didn't think I even left anything in my refrigerator. Boy was I wrong about that."
How did the vaccination go, and did the cats behave themselves?
-Doug in Sugar Pine
Sounds like you dodged a bullet.
And we quickly move on to the next disaster, except your personal contribution is very valuable as we are forced to fully take in the serious affect on people's lives. I glad you had family help to get things tidied up quickly.
The shredded green leaves were the same here. Such a mess! I know that locomotive sound too! It was unbelievable!
You have our deepest sympathy down in the bayous and swamps. It's something you don't wish on your worst enemy.
gz: The rippling slates would be a sight you'd never forget. And the noise is scary.
Elephant's Child: I'm grateful because, as you say, the damage was so much worse for many other people. I'm only surprised there were not more than the three (I believe) deaths attributed to the storm. Yes, the poor trees. So many giants gone or deformed. The smell of torn leaves was unbelievable. I appreciate the virtual hugs and am sending some of my own back to you.
Boud: Wow - Sandy was huge; I remember the damage in the news. It took a long time for the area to recover. The experience makes a big impression, as you said.
Doug: It's amazing how much wood is in one tree and how heavy the trunk sections are! Yeah, six days of no power and that fridge would be in trouble. The vaccination booster went better than any of my others, which was nice. And the cats were well behaved. My mother was very entertained by the one we kept with us. The other was in an adjoining room and I rigged up a half-door to allow heat into that room. I wish they got along; they could have snuggled together :)
Mike: Yes, some people lost everything. Roof off, rain in -- or, in one case in Newfoundland, a house swept out to sea, and the woman inside died. Losing power for an extended period and minimal damage doesn't begin to compare.
Andrew: I need to process it and writing is a good way to do that, I find. But you're right; even now there is another hurricane in the south, and around the world there are so many disasters happening. Thanks for recognizing that individual's stories are important, too, no matter where they come from.
Marie: It sounds like our experiences were very similar. I mourned for your lost dunes. I hope nature restores those in time.
Mimi: It can't be any easier even if you have them more often. I don't think a person could ever get used to it. At least we don't have the overpowering heat here to deal with, and no power for air conditioning. It was the opposite - cold nights and no heat.
I'm glad you're okay. That's the most important thing. I'm also glad you had help with cleaning up. Such storms are eerie and awesome.
Janie: Good words to describe it. I'm also glad :)
It must have been a terrifying experience. Good that you had some very good help for the clean up.
I'm glad you survived with minimal damage. I wonder does anyone ever get used to such winds to the point where they say, "look out, here comes another one". I don't think anyone would, certainly not me. The downed trees are bad enough, but downed power lines seems an excellent reason for all future lines to be laid underground wherever possible.
This sounds so scary. I can relate to the train sound. I'm so happy to hear you're survived and slowly getting back your life.
reading this made me shiver dear Jenny . no words to express how relived i am that you were saved from the greater damage by the grace of lord!
how kind of your brother to come all the way to help you in such big job that could have been quite expensive for you no doubt . this is such a peace to have your son with you at such difficult time my friend!
glad that your mom house was spared almost .
you are in my thoughts and prays !
seems like our new norm along with covid ,omicron and climate change going to teach us some new lessons of life .
hope and pray that we can understand and face them with strength in future !
hugs and blessings!
Red: I wasn't so worried for myself, but with my mother there I had to think about how to protect her. The basement is where we should have been, but she wouldn't have been able to get down the stairs easily.
River: There is already some discussion about burying power lines. It is very expensive to do, and the cost would be reflected in our power bills. It will be interesting to see what changes, if any, come about.
Charlotte: That sound made the hair on my neck stand on end!
baili: I was one of the lucky ones, to have no major damage and so much help in clearing up. I'm very grateful I wasn't all alone to face that. You are so right about the lessons we are facing at this time in history. I hope we come out as better people in the end. Hugs to you, too :)
Buried power lines is a blessing! We've had them for over ten years now, and we almost never loose power any more (only when some unmentionable digs into the power lines) ;) Before this it happened so often, that almost all rooms had a candle ond matches at an easy to find place.
Charlotte: Good to hear positive things about buried lines. I wonder if the cold and frost in our region make it more difficult to use them. I need to do some research.
My gosh, I can't imagine! Your description had me visualizing the whole thing. It sounds terrifying. What a blessing that you're okay and that you had good help for the cleanup. The new sections in our city have buried lines and the city is working on burying the ones in older areas, one neighbourhood at a time. Perhaps it's a way to prepare for any possible storms like that.
I'm shuddering in sympathy. What a terrifying experience! That 'roaring locomotive' sound sends a chill of memory up my spine. We had a "wind event" here a couple of years ago that decimated the trees around our place - hundreds of them snapped off, blew over, or were completely uprooted. The power lines looked like tangled spaghetti, but we were only without power for 5 days so we considered ourselves lucky.
I'm so glad you and your mother made it through the storm unscathed, and that you didn't have too much property damage. Here's hoping you don't ever have to face another storm like that!
Martha: There is already talk of burying lines. It would be a massive undertaking but would pay off in the end, I think.
Diane: The feeling of helplessness in the midst of the wind is the part that bothered me. I didn't know what I would do if something major happened to the house, with my mom unable to descend to the basement and two cats who couldn't be in the same room together! I'm thankful I didn't need to find out. Your wind event sounds an awful lot like a hurricane!
I can find strong wind frightening and i haven't even heard it so loud as that!
It's a huge thing to clean up after all that, I'm glad you have help.
Such a pity about the trees, yours and all the others. What a huge loss and where do the critters go?
kylie: That's a good question. I worry for the critters, especially with winter not far away. In one of the sections of tree that my brother cut down, there was a hole and a nicely padded nest -- for who I don't know. Maybe a woodpecker? It was drilled out as neatly as if a machine had done it. And one of our neighbourhood squirrels was in and out of the brush pile numerous times; not sure if he/she was looking for easy food or mourning his or her home. One of the trees that came down in my neighbour's yard was a huge evergreen. I'm sure there were animal homes in it, and it provided spruce cones, a source of food. It's sad to think of the loss of shelter and food for so many animals.
That sounds absolutely terrifying Jenny. I'm so pleased you weren't hurt by falling stuff.
Cherie: That makes two of us! Thanks, Cherie.
I'm just glad you made it through okay. One day at a time on the clean up.
I'm glad you are okay. I think of moving but don't know where to go...
I have not checked into Blogger in months but today I just wanted to see how old friends were doing. First, I am glad to read that you and your mom are OK but so sorry for what this horrendous storm has done to you and so many. From Florida to Canada, the destruction was so horrible and it is hard to fathom what you all went through. I am glad to read your brother was there to help you and I hope some conditions are improving. Take care, dear Jenny.
hi dear jenny !
just dropping you my heartfelt best wishes and prays !
hope all is fine at your corner my friend!
Hi jenny_o. Sorry that you had to live through this but I am glad you are OK. Going three weeks without power? Wow. That would be tough. Hang in there and take care.
I sure hope you're still just unpacking and cleaning after the storm. Hugs and prayers from across the big waters.
It was was pure joy to hear from you my friend!
Hope all is going fine and pleasant at your side .if there is bit odd I am sure you gonna kick it away with insight and undefeated courage you have!
Hugs and blessings
Hurricanes are no fun that's for sure. They're destructive, messy and inconvenient for all those in their path. Living in Florida I've been through my fair share and I suppose I'll go through many more before all is said and done. Mother Nature isn't kind at times, but what can you do? You either ride it out and hope for the best or you flee and come back to an unexpected mess to clean up. I hope your damge was minimal.
Goodness, that must have been terrifying. How fortunate that no trees fell on your house. I hope you're back to normal now - it's horrible to be without power and water.
So glad that you are back, jenny_o, and things are starting to get back to normal. Best of luck with everything and take care my friend.
Merry Christmas, Jenny.
-Doug in Sugar Pine
I hope the Christmas was gently and that the new year will be prosperous and filled with love and peace, dear Jenny. I think of you often, my birthday mate.
Happy New Year, jenny_o!
I've been thinking of you today Jenny. Hugs.
Jenny, for some unknown reason, you are not on my feed anymore, though I see you haven’t posted in a while. Hope all is well!
Everyone: Thank you for thinking of me and leaving comments even though I wasn't answering. I hope my new post helps explain why I've been away. Thank you again.
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