Thursday, October 28, 2010
In near-hurricane winds, Madison trees bend and sway and dance with the sky but rarely break
Driven by a record low pressure system, the winds came roaring out of the Great Plains into the Madison area with near-hurricane force, with occasional gusts peaking right up into hurricane range -- and they just didn't stop. Listening to the wind rattle the house and whip the trees into a frenzy, it sometimes felt as if we were bound to lose all our trees. But aside from some limbs and power lines coming down, and the usual storm debris, we didn't lose many trees.
Madison was lucky. It could have been much worse. If it had been summer and it had been raining, and the trees had been covered with a full coat of wet leaves, they would have offered a lot more resistance to the wind, and something would have had to give, probably not the wind. And we were lucky that the ground was not waterlogged -- many trees have been uprooted in winds less powerful than these when the ground was soaking wet. As it was, the wind whistled through mostly bare branches, and the trees almost seemed to be enjoying themselves.
I, not being a tree, did not. Prolonged winds always make me kind of nutsy. This was worse than usual, with plenty to worry about. Would something come crashing through the window? Would the roof be ripped off, shingle by shingle? Exactly what sort of wind damage did our homeowner's policy cover, anyhow? Still, I was just nervous and irritable.
It was worse for our cat. He seemed to fall into full-fledged despair. Every time he optimistically ventured out to the backyard he loves, he beat a quick retreat. Something had turned his world into a howling wind tunnel that threatened to blow him away. Finally he gave up and just retreated into a near catatonic trance, only occasionally getting up to attend to bodily functions. Much of the time he slept with a paw curled protectively around his head as if to to block everything out and say, "Wake me up when it's over." Finally, apparently, it is.