So many stories are overdue, but this one must be vexed about not getting a full telling, since it revisited last night! I hope you'll forgive my job for swallowing me whole -- wildlife don't seem to courteously time their activities to my convenience, alas.
It Seemed Like A Normal Day
Just home from work, I noticed the darkening sky, but it wasn't unusual for an early July evening. Carolina summer frequently includes late-day cloudbursts, when hot, humid air blows its soggy overload.
Glancing west as I carried buckets to the boys, I was arrested by this...thing:
I know just enough about clouds to be afraid, very very afraid. Convinced the Hand of Sauron itself was coming for us at an unsettling speed, I secured horses & hay in a record 7.8 seconds. My ears popped as the temperature & barometric pressure went into freefall. The passing Coast Guard rescue chopper you can hear in the video did not seem like a good omen.
My run-in, hayshed, & house are all engineered for 120 mph windstorms, my construction default here in hurricane country. Feed & tack I keep in smaller kit sheds, but both have weathered much larger storms & are stuffed with heavy objects.
So while I wasn't thrilled by less than five minutes of warning, I hunkered down in the house feeling that all major bases were covered. NOAA weather alerts showed this particular beast hurtling SE at interstate speeds, with angry windshear. And hail. (Some news photos of aftermath in the area here)
|Run with the Tolkien theme|
But Solo & Encore have their safety walls I built during our first brutal winter. I uneasily watched the now-rain-hail-mix swing 180 degrees from West --> East to East --> West in 10 seconds, but I was glad they were protected.
A half-hour seems a lot longer in the dark.
I went out front as the rain stopped, to attempt salvage of my now-shredded hay tarps before the next band moved in. It was then I noticed the horses standing in the farther corner of their paddocks. Which they only do if something scares the bejeezus out of them.
Like, I don't know, flying walls?
|The remnants of Structure Formerly Known As Feed Shed|
Priority One: Horses
Both horses were luckily unscathed. It's always a dilemma of intense storms: flying debris risk vs. building catastrophe risk. Sometimes you get both -- along with storms that don't read textbooks!
Incredibly, both fencing tape & posts held. I called my Miraculous Rescue Neighbour as I had to get buildings off the fences & important gear/feed under cover immediately, because more rain was on the way.
|Tack shed flipped off foundation|
My big lag screws had been ripped out of the walls, but stayed in the brackets, so I made sure to account for each one as I dragged scattered panels out of horse areas. Red arrows in the pic show locations over about 3/4 of an acre. The last thing I needed to add was a punctured hoof.
Priority Two: Additional Waterlogging Prevention
We only had about an hour before it started raining again. Just enough time to get pastures cleaned. And just enough time for the full weight of the damage to begin sinking in.
Bathed in exhausted sweat, I was very glad it was at least 9 pm & NOT 100 degrees as no power = no shower. And given the chorus of sirens in every direction, it wasn't returning anytime soon.
|We gonna eat it all!|
But rain had blown UNDER my hayshed walls in seemingly impossible ways. I finally got the tarp off the roof, but some of my beautiful bales were decidedly wet: not ok. And it's pretty hard to keep mice out of a building with one wall, which didn't bode well for feed security.
Two words echoed in my head: