Life at Cyrano's Place since Tuesday...

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by ncnascarlady, May 17, 2018 at 5:37 PM.

  1. I've copied and pasted Cyrano's initial post from What's going on with you now. It's easier than explaining it...

    Well, I can add another entry to my lifetime curriculum vitae: Tornado Survivor.

    I looked at the Weather Channel app and it said that there was a thunderstorm alert in our area. Nothing unusual about that. But this time the sky behaved differently. It got very dark very fast, and then it opened up with high winds that shifted rapidly around the compass, accompanied first by heavy rain and then hail. I cracked all the windows in the house open to equalize air pressure, and then ground fog that reduced visibility to less than 100 feet showed up out of nowhere. Her Imperial Majesty was unpacking The Big Red Car after the last Elephant's Trunk trip, and frantically slammed all the doors shut. As she was doing this, she saw a big oak tree get uprooted and fall into the neighbors across the street from Uncle Paul's house. The trunk missed the house, but the top branches damaged the deck over the garage some. At that point, she dashed into the house as the power went out and the emergency generator came on. The barometer in the living room took a nosedive, and then the rain slowed down and the sky lightened up. We had seen some deadwood come down out of our trees, and we went out to take a look around the street and the property.

    We had two small dead trees that had been on my "round tuit" list down, but they didn't hit anything. Our neighbor Dan's trees by the street in his woodlot had some big branches that had been ripped off the trunks and were lying in the street; it took both Her Imperial Majesty and me to move them over to the side of the road so cars could pass. Then we walked over to Uncle Paul's to see how he had made out.

    In one word, badly. Four trees on his property had uprooted and come down. One didn't hit anything. One bounced off the power lines, which pulled over a power pole but did not snap the wires. One hit his Malibu, bent the back half of the roof into a V, and demolished the rear windshield. Given it's a 2012, it's probably totaled. But that wasn't the worst.

    A big oak tree came down on his house. It smashed the main roof beam in half, detached the drop ceiling in the kitchen and squashed a bunch of kitchen stuff, including the birthday cake I'd delivered to Uncle Paul just before all this began, and punched a branch through into the living room, missing his desktop tower PC by inches. Paul is okay, but his house isn't.

    I sent Her Imperial Majesty and Junior back to the house to get the reciprocating saw and the extension cord I normally use with the weed-whacker for mowing the lawn, and when I saw where the cord ended, sent H.I.M. back after the reel extension cord I picked up on Saturday at the Jeanette sale (for which she had mocked me; no longer!). The emergency generator was up and running, so I went to work.

    After taking cellphone photos of everything, I began cutting away the branches hanging off the roof so Paul could safely get in and out of the house. I did the cutting, and H.I.M. and Junior hauled the slash off, piling it up by the road where (I'm presuming) the town will eventually haul it away or feed it into a wood chipper. After I had the house entry cleared, I moved on to the car. My objective was simple: cut away enough branches to let me cover the rear of the car with a tarp and secure it by closing the two rear doors on it, with the tarp over the roof and the missing rear windshield. It started to rain again, and one of the neighbors said she had heard the storm was curving back our way, so we called it a day after 90 minutes of cutting and carrying. The essence of gambling is knowing when to quit, and as the rain was increasing I didn't want to press my luck.

    Her Imperial Majesty cleared out some rubbermaid containers for Paul to use as rain buckets in the house, and after he got them set up to his satisfaction he came to our house, where he will be spending the night and, I presume, living with us until his house is repaired. Such is life.
     
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  2. Here's his updated from yesterday...

    Update on our situation here:

    NYSEG just came past doing a survey on the trees down across the streets. They say ten towns in our area are affected. They have no idea when they will be back to clear the trees off our street, although they confirmed we can get out to Route 22 and thence to I-84 and I-684. There is no estimate of when we will get electric power back; it could be 2 weeks or longer. Their advice: "Get your generator's fuel tank filled."

    Junior did not have school today because the roads have downed trees all over. Too soon to tell if he will have school tomorrow or Friday. His school does have emergency generators, so it is possible. The controlling factor may be whether the buses can roll or not.

    Bottom line: We are on our own. I'm going to have to break out the little electric chainsaw and see what I can do with that. The reciprocating saw is not up to cutting up tree trunks, and I would like to get Paul's car freed up, and cut up some of the downed limbs too.
     
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  3. After that, his home phone/internet and tv went down, but I managed to reach him for a couple of minutes via cell. The cell service is spotty up there at best, but the family was doing okay.

    Today's update...

    He called me while he was out, so he had good cell signal, thankfully and was able to tell me about yesterday's and today's work.

    Uncle Paul contacted Geico, who told him to go ahead and clear off the car if you need to move it so you can do more clean up. That's been accomplished and Geico is working on his claim.

    The landlord contacted his insurance company who said to go ahead and remove what you need to so the house can be made as water tight as possible, but not to do anything that will endanger the workers. Knowing that, the landlord contacted a couple of his friends who are with a neighboring town's fire department, one of whom is the chief. They got over and with Cyrano's help cut off enough branches and chunks to spread and nail down a 20' x 30' tarp over the remaining tree and roof. There's more that could be done, but Uncle Paul doesn't want Cyrano doing it, even from the ground.

    Then there's PWB and Paul's bright idea. Let's get a dehumidifier going to prevent black mold! We've got one, we'll just run and extension cord over and get it going! Cyrano tried to veto it as pointless, the house isn't air tight, and their dehumidifier is meant for a small room, not an entire house. Please note...I said he tried.

    When he told me about it, I started laughing. It's too little too late. It's been raining steadily since Tuesday and they didn't get it covered until late yesterday afternoon. Which means the insulation in the roof is soaked, as is the insulation behind any walls that are close to the hole and the sheetrock on the ceiling and walls, as well as soaking the floor. I suggested if they want to try something, try putting box fans in the windows blowing out. That at least will keep the air circulating, but the house is going to be a total gut job because of the risk of black mold and water logged electrical system. It's not going to be a simple patch, repair and go deal.
     
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  4. jwrauch

    jwrauch G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Tornados , windstorms , and ice storms can really cause a lot of problems. We know from experience !!!
     
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  5. Here are a couple of pictures of Uncle Paul's car and house...
    IMG_0096 (002).JPG IMG_0097 (002).JPG
     
  6. rando

    rando G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

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    That's not good at all. Mother nature can change quickly and wreak havoc. We had some strange weather last Saturday. There were warnings broadcasted and alert on my phone about severe thunderstorms coming. I had to take a trip to the Walmart. Sky got dark and black in like 3 minutes. Then sudden wind and torrential rain where no one could see to drive. Finally safely at Walmart and thought I heard rocks hitting my truck. It was **** hail as big as marbles coming down and about 80 degrees. It was a cool front coming overnight and the temps clashed.
     
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  7. PaleHawkDown

    PaleHawkDown G&G Evangelist

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    Sure glad he made it through. We get a few a year down here, but the closest call we ever had was back in the 90s when 15 tornadoes dropped down on the same night in the Birmingham area.
    We lived in a valley and three bounced from one hilltop to the other over us.
     
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  8. I've gotten way too close to a tornado twice. Once in CT that I didn't know I was less than 2 minutes from until I got home from work. Mom came running out in a panic, screaming "What are you doing here?!?!?" Ummm...I live here??? Why??? Bear in mind, my mom isn't known for having panic fits or screaming like that...

    Seems that as I was working my way north out of New Haven, dropping passengers off along the way, there was a loooong track tornado that had ripped through NW heading to south central CT. I dropped one in New Haven, one in North Haven, then as the tornado was heading that way, I passed it in Hamden. 5 minutes after walking in the door, I got a call from my friend in New Haven who told me that less than 2 minutes after I dropped her off the tornado tore through her neighborhood.

    The second was about 2' wide and went along across the top of my street here in NC for about 15'. I didn't even notice until I went out to the store and saw a couple of Crepe Myrtle trees torn up...lol
     
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  9. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    Glad no one was hurt! Hope the house can be repaired.
    I got lucky last year when a huge tree in a neighbor's yard fell into my backyard. That property wasn't tennated, so it took time to find the owner. He did SQUAT. I lost the corner of my privacy fence, and had power line pulled down but still working. Power company fixed that, but left the old line laying in my backyard, and knocked down my phone line. Had a week of trouble getting phone company to fix that. I hired some young guys to clear the tree junk from my yard, then repair the fence. That tree came within inches of hitting back neighbor's truck.
    A lot of out of pocket cost for me, and that huge tree trunk still lies across no-load neighbor's flattened fence. Couldn't afford the legal trouble to deal with him.
     
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  10. I remember that. You had more frustration getting that mess sorted out than any 2 people deserved.

    As for Uncle Paul's house being saved... It's possible. The next time I can talk to Cyrano, I'll ask him to walk around and look at the foundation to see if the house shifted at all. If it did, the house is a total loss. If not, it's going to be a total gut job more than likely.
     
  11. Junction15

    Junction15 G&G Evangelist

    You know what? I love trees providing shade around my house. But I do not let them get big enough to cause damage.
    A few years ago, I had a large spruce tree in the front yard that was blocking any winter sun light from coming in the living room windows. The trunk was about 30" diameter and this tree was only about 20 feet from the house. It had to come down before it could hit the house. This past year's storms - that knocked out power all over our area - would certainly have pushed that tree onto my house. Two smaller oaks have grown up nicely to replace the spruce and someday those will come down when they get too big.

    My prayers go out to Uncle Paul, Cyrano, and all those affected by the storms.
     
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  12. TNPIRATE

    TNPIRATE Yo Ho Ho And A Bottle Of Rum Forum Contributor

    That's why I cut the trees down that were hanging over my house 2 years ago.
    Early spring a storm came thru with a bunch of wind. If the trees that I had cut down were still over my house they would have come down.
    The town lost several trees, a tree took out a shed, and the back of someone's house. The wind took the roof off an old building in town.
     
  13. Big Dog

    Big Dog Retired IT Dinosaur Wrangler Forum Contributor

    The pic of Uncle Paul's looks less bad than it likely is. Hope not too many frames are broke. Moving that tree may cause more damage. After the last big storm here that caused wide tree falls, all local tree companies were swamped, and we had companies coming down from Georgia. Prices were high too, but people were desperate to get the trees gone. Great time to own a tree service.
     
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  14. Ten Man

    Ten Man G&G Evangelist

    What a mess!! Thankfully, no one was injured.

    I'm still dealing with some tree debris from a New Years Eve ice storm we had this Winter.
     
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  15. gsbuickman

    gsbuickman G&G Evangelist

    Wow , more than anything I'm glad that no one got hurt and the house can be repaired and the car can always be replaced. It sounds like they're already getting a handle on things and I hope they get things squared away and going sooner than later, until then they can make out like the Clampett's but it'll be alright :) .

    Here locally it's been typical spring weather in the high desert and the last week or so we've had our fair share of thunderstorms rolling through and around the valley . It can go from blue skies and sunshine to a nasty dark black thunderstorm w/ rain coming down sideways, hailstones the size of marbles and plenty of lightning to go around real quick like. They have a tendency to hit real hard real fast and then disappear back to blue skies and sunshine before you know it . Fortunately the valley is rained with mountains which keeps the storms from building big enough to spawn twisters but we get a lot of good size funnel clouds spinning around but they never spawn anything . On the flip side of that coin we do get microbursts here in the valley which are basically upside down tornadoes that can cause just as much if not more damage than your average twisters . Basically there a column of air pressure that shoots out of a storm cell straight down until it hits the ground and spreads out 360 . They can turn trees into kindling or uproot them entirely, knock buildings from foundations and tear Roofs apart . Not too long ago when my church was building our new church building it got hit by a microburst which done a lot of damage. At the time it was only the framing with the roof joists anchored to the walls but the microburst ripped the majority of the roof joists off the walls and turned them into kindling , it was crazy ...
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018 at 10:19 AM
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  16. Sav .250

    Sav .250 G&G Evangelist

    Hurricanes.........I know full well the devastation that can come with those.
    Been there .Done that.
     
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  17. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

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    Hi, Folks. I'm back, at least for now. Comcast got our internet and phone running; still not sure about the cable TV. The big set on the living room wall went out, and Uncle Paul brought his 40 inch stand-up LED television over and we plugged it in; we've been watching DVDs on it. When he comes back from packing stuff up in his house, we'll try to get the cable TV service running again.

    We are still without electric power from NYSEG, though the emergency generator is running and makes it possible for me to communicate. We have teams from five separate government and private agencies working on our street. The Canadians (one team each from Nova Scotia and Quebec) are putting up the new power/phone poles. The Triwire crew from Connecticut is running and splicing the new lines. NYDOT is providing dump trucks to haul away the slash. The town Public Works Dept. is chopping up the tree trunks (there is one at the far end of the street that is about four feet in diameter that I wish we could get slabs from; they would make wonderful tables, and the trunk sections from smaller trees would make great central pillars, according to Junior, and he is correct). Plus which, there are landscapers and tree companies who are making a fortune dealing with the downed trees on private property.

    NYSEG's best guess on restoring the electricity is two days from now.

    Uncle Paul had the GEICO claims adjuster arrive yesterday. His Malibu was totaled, no surprise there. The adjuster said that a check for the value of the car will arrive in a few days. Meanwhile, he's been looking through Consumer Reports to see what recent models (past five years) he should be looking for; and now that we have the Internet again, he can search for whatever he decides he wants to buy. He wisecracked, "If I hadn't donated The Little White Car last week, I'd have more money to buy a new to me used car!"

    His landlord had a tree company he trusts. They have come over and cut up the five downed trees, but the big crane needed to take the big oak off the roof is tied up on another job. Once the tree is taken off the roof, a contractor he has been using for 35 years will come over and start the interior. At present, the landlord is discussing with the insurance company who is going to pay for a pod to store Uncle Paul's stuff while the contractor rebuilds the house.

    To answer ncnascarlady's questions, the house did not shift on its foundations. However, the main roof beam and a number of the roof joists will have to be replaced, and part of the roof will have to be re-shingled. The six inch diameter hole through the roof into the living room will have to be fixed. There are some cracked floor joists that will have to get sister beams and fish plates. However, the place is safe to walk in. All of the insulation will probably have to be replaced, as will the drop ceiling in the kitchen.

    So we are not badly off here, and things are improving. Thank you all for remembering us in your thoughts and prayers.
     
  18. jerry

    jerry Since 2002 Forum Contributor

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    Thoughts and prayers to folks going through bad times.
     
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