Monday, July 02, 2012

What a storm!

Yummy's nephew had a birthday party this weekend. We had to drive out to the middle of Virginia for the party. As the sun set we were seeing lightning flickering in the distance. "Heat lightning" Yummy called it. Having the internet in my hand and the idea in my head at the same time, I looked it up. Any idea that it's caused by heat isn't true. It's just lightning that's far enough away that the thunder fades to silence before it reaches you.

Before long the wind picked up. Small branches, large dust, all kinds of grit and weirdness were blowing around. Yummy started to think "tornado". I couldn't rule it out. Several miles on it started to rain. Visibility was poor. Yummy asks me to keep an eye out for tree branches in the road. She turned the headlights to bright and I immediately yelled "TREE!" She hit the brakes and we pulled into a conveniently placed U-turn spot between the lanes. Two cars behind us slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting the tree. After a moment they found a gap along the shoulder and started going around the tree. Of course, we followed. I also called 911 and told them about the downed tree.

A few miles on traffic stopped. We could see people moving up ahead, but the rain was beating down. I looked up where we were and got the weather forecast. It said "Minor rain squall". "Minor" and "squall" are not two words I ever expected to see together.

After a few minutes traffic moved. We found where one of the lanes was still blocked by a tree. The end closest to us was cut off remarkably cleanly.

Several miles on traffic stopped again. It seemed to stretch on for quite some distance. The rain had let up a bit so I got out and started walking. More than half a mile down the road I reached the front and a guy with a chainsaw. We got the road cleared. Other guys who had beat me there kept saying "we should let some of these cars through" once one lane was open, but the guy with the saw was on a mission. He just wanted to get somewhere, but trees kept getting in his way. Damn it, he was gonna show those trees!

Seriously though, my thanks to the guy with the saw. There's not a lot of people who just happen to keep one of those in their car. You're awesome, man.

Much later we did get turned back because of an alleged downed tree three miles further on. The GPS had fits about that.

A construction area at the University of Virginia had a bunch of that temporary chain link fencing stuck in concrete blocks. The fencing with stuff woven between the links so you can't see in very well. Something like a block and a half of that stuff had blown over.

Several towns were without power.

Eventually traffic was being directed around a crew with large equipment that was out clearing trees from the road.

We got to see the whole process in a few hour trip. From wind to limb removal. Thanks to the state of Virginia for having people out clearing the roads that fast. It's appreciated.

No comments: