Friday, January 4, 2008

Big Wind

That is a picture of Stu's horse Ace, an old friend of mine, being blown about by the wind storm this morning in Walla Walla. It's also, coincidentally, part of Stu's back yard, normally the part where you can look out over rolling wheat fields and then to some beautiful foothills in the distance.

The winds at that time were 35 mph or so, with 55 mph gusts. About an hour later, when I decided to attempt a drive home, they'd ratcheted up 10 - 15 mph and the gusts up even more. Stu and Colleen had lost power in the house, about 10 minutes after they filled the tub and some 5-gallon containers full of water. No power, no water in their little water district. That was one of the reasons I decided to leave, I didn't want to put a strain on their temporarily limited resources.

It was a bit surreal to drive in the wind. The sky was dark and the road had constant debris flying past, lots of tumbleweed especially. There were barn roofs torn off and laying by the side of the road, and at one point a downed tree caused me to have to detour a bit.

Eventually, I hit open road, which in this part of the country is really really open. That was comforting, no more trees, just wheat. Outside of Milton-Freewater Oregon, when the road really opened up, I came upon 3 semis in a row that had been capsized by the wind and abandoned. Next was 6 power poles that were down in a row, but to my luck away from the road instead of over it.

The whole drive until way past Pendleton was dark like in the picture with Ace. Just a muddy grey weird color, almost like the color the clouds take on before a tornado, but a bit less green.

The roads were nearly abandoned, except for service vehicles of all sorts. I didn't see any car wrecks, just slowdowns due to trees in the road or big debris. It only took me an hour or so to drive out of the worst of the wind and be back in the gorge, on I-84 West, heading home.

I dodged a bullet apparently though, because not long after I got through Pendleton, the 84 was closed, and the winds increased even more. Gusts were reaching over 70 mph.

All in all it was an exciting and interesting drive home. Time to shower all this grit out of my hair and ears.

Enjoy your normalized weather patterns,



Tate said...

welcome home buddy, i was thinking of you

CtheG said...

well that was a long post but once I got started i couldn't stop. It made my heart race thinking about that drive. It is POURING rain here. yes pouring. Not just the LA version.
Couldn't imagine being out there right now. I assume it would feel similar for me as the wind did for you. Sucky.

Bpaul said...

Good to see a comment Tate, thanks :-)

Big weather = reading weather Catherine, that's what I say.

Tate said...

you know i love the wind, and I have been having a great time with all this big weather.. LOVE IT!!! makes me tingle all over hehe

Bpaul said...

It was quite a trip to see the damage out there -- not from a tornado, either, just big huge wind.

I've never seen semi's actually pushed all the way over from wind, it was amazing.

And of course you were on my mind (actually, as soon as I was OUT of the harshest wind, before that nothing but the road and my traction and visibility was on my mind), with your love of wind and all.

Stu Farnham said...


You left "The Biology of Belief" and one black sock...

Amazing waether. Lots of damage in WW -- no major damage at the Farmhands', I am glad to report.