Saturday, July 26, 2014
  DAMN, that was bad.

DAMN. That was BAD.

The Weather Bureau has more trouble forecasting in continental-influenced years like this one. And they missed this purely continental storm.

They were warning for strong thunderstorms, so I was ready for that. Unplugged the computer, closed the doors and windows, cooked supper early to avoid possible power outage.

But they didn't warn for 75 MPH wind.

It came without any natural warning. I heard a few THUMPS before I heard wind. Those THUMPS were, of course, trees dropping. The wind came all at once, step-function style. It roared, punctuated by more THUMPS. I opened the front door to see what in the holy fuck was happening, because it didn't sound like wind. Stood there transfixed, which was not smart; I should have taken cover. Watched the nearest stand of trees thrashing and bending as they always do in a big wind. The wind kept getting stronger, and then it was full of hail and rain, which made its force unstoppable. One of the trees bent 90 degrees and fell as I watched. THUMP. Just like I'd imagined it would.

And then it was over. Maybe 5 minutes.

My house is okay. The only damage is a piece of metal siding popped loose.

Back in 2011, after another continental year, I had the trees removed from my yard. They would have squashed me this time if they'd still been around. In that same year I had the fence braced, and it remains stubbornly vertical. Also thanks to the neighbor on the west, who removed several trees in that same year. One of those trees would have been directly aimed at my house if it had still been around.

The people who didn't go for Zero Problems in previous years have Big Problems this year.

This neighborhood looks like the aftermath of a 'selective tornado'. Worst damage is along N-S and diagonal blocks. Not bad on the e-w streets. Two houses are pretty much totalled; several garages are crushed. [Later: more like 8 totalled houses.]

= = = = =

Some things realized during the power-out and web-out periods:

(1) If you want news, you're NOT going to get it from radio. Local stations put all their 'news' effort into TV. Even when their TV reporters have produced stories on the disaster, the radio side of the same station doesn't use the material. If you really want any sort of information or entertainment, you need the web.

(2) Without information and entertainment, I was forced to spend more time working, which is good. But without the web, I couldn't find answers to questions that arose while working. Details of SVG and HTML5 and Responsive Web Design aren't found in books. Up-to-date info on web-related topics is only found in discussion forums on the web. And without the web I couldn't turn in my work. I finally found a landline phone number for the publisher and explained what was happening, so they wouldn't think my two days of unresponsiveness was a strike or illness or something.

(3) Auto-defrost refrigerators do NOT keep food cool for even an hour. Their coolness is solely produced by blowing air, and the walls of the chamber are usually warmer than room temp. When power goes off, food quickly ends up warmer than room temp.



(4) This was a COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE disaster. ALL of the problems were caused by TALL CONIFERS. Short trees (maple, oak, apple) didn't cause any problems. Most remained intact, some lost branches but couldn't smash any houses. Houses without tall trees nearby are fine, except for a few ripped shingles and popped siding slats. Easy repairs.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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