I’ve always thought ‘blow me down’ was only an expression, but it almost turned out to be literal. The relaxing holiday I’d envisioned didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, on December 20 we got pounded with a vicious windstorm with gusts up to 140 km/hr, followed by five days without power.
We were incredibly lucky to have very little property damage and no personal injury; but the forest around our house looks as though it’s been bombed. Giant trees were completely uprooted leaving gaping craters in the ground, and many of the ones whose roots held ended up snapping.
Two big trees somehow ended up on the ground under our front porch roof without damaging anything on their way down; and our utility trailer blew across the yard and wedged itself halfway under our deck, miraculously without causing any damage there, either. Other people weren’t so lucky.
Usually a storm like that is relatively short-lived, but this went on for hours. We were afraid our big front windows would shatter under the force of the wind, but somehow they held. At one point I heard a crash from outside and cracked the door open to see what had happened, but the wind was so strong it took all my strength to push the door shut again (and I’m no 98-pound weakling).
Some news sources are calling it the worst storm on record for Vancouver Island; others say the worst in ten years. I’m hoping it was the all-time worst, because I don’t want to experience another one that bad! I grew up on the prairies with a constant threat of tornadoes, and I’m a total chickenshit when it comes to wind. Let’s just say I was NOT happy during this storm.
Fortunately we’d planned for power outages when we built the house, and we ran our generator enough to keep ourselves warm and our freezers cold. BC Hydro did a heroic job of restoring power to the 700,000 customers who were blacked out, although some spent more than a week without power. When I saw the snarled-up mess of wires down our road, I was truly impressed that they’d been able to get it working again as quickly as they did.
So I dunno; I’m beginning to think Vancouver Island doesn’t want us here. First it tried to freeze us out with record-breaking snow and cold in our first winter, and now it’s tried to blow us away with record-breaking wind. I’m just hoping it doesn’t attempt to shake us off with a giant earthquake next.
But at least we had a good test of our emergency preparations, and we’ll be doing some tweaking to make sure we’re ready (as much as we can be) for the next crisis.
Meanwhile, our island home is returning to its usual tranquility and we’re feeling thankful for our good fortune. It’s a nice way to start a new year: Healthy, happy, and grateful.
Happy New Year, everybody – wishing you all the best in 2019!
Book 14 update: My writing schedule got disrupted by the storm and power outage, but I still managed to make it to Chapter 42. The end is in sight!