This past weekend, I witnessed the most fascinating storm I’ve seen yet outside of the Philippines. It started Friday evening, when the wind suddenly started blowing so strongly that it sounded like there was a freight train chugging along our street. It was so loud, it drowned out the hungry grumblings of my tummy. And that’s saying a lot.
Saturday morning, I woke and was startled by strange movement outside my bedroom window. When my eyes finally managed to focus, I realized it was our bamboo patch flailing wildly in the wind. Sort of the way my hair does when I’m shooting a shampoo commercial. (Okay, it might be a Head and Shoulders commercial, but still.)
Keep in mind that bamboo is very pliable. (Think Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 2: “Don’t worry—Chinese bamboo, very strong!”) If you don’t believe me, here’s a photo of our bamboo patch during one particularly heavy snow and ice storm.
See? It bends, but doesn’t break. So the sight of the bamboo swaying violently to and fro was quite a sight. It would bend to the right, almost down to the ground, then whip up and bend to the left, again almost to the ground. I couldn’t believe the force of the winds that were causing our patch of 20- to 30-foot high bamboo to move like strands of fur being blown by a hair dryer.
Then we started hearing loud noises from outside, and a resounding crash that seemed a bit too close for comfort. A rush outside armed with flashlights confirmed what we suspected: a huge tree fell on the side of the house. A quick run upstairs to check for broken windows fortunately came up empty, and since it was dark, there wasn’t much we could do.
The next morning, there was finally enough daylight to assess the damage. This is what I saw from the upstairs window.
Impressed, I headed downstairs to check out the damage. First, I had to get past some debris that was blocking the door leading to the deck.
I couldn’t believe the wind was actually strong enough to snap the bamboo. Snap it! I’ve got to tell Jackie Chan all about it.
Outside, our recycling bins (we’re responsible like that) were thrown clear across the yard and deposited underneath a tree, and there was paper strewn all over the grass (okay, that part wasn’t so responsible).
Oh, and look who was kind enough to help hold up the house.
I wish I could regale you with the extent of my knowledge of botanical nomenclature, and tell you exactly what kind of tree that is. But I figured if I threw around the name Douglasish firkindathingi, you’d catch on. Sadly, any former mastery of scientific names lasted only long enough to get me through those college exams, and not an hour more than necessary.
As bad as that seemed (the fallen tree, not the demise of my memory of biological classifications), we still were better off than some of our neighbors. For example, this could have happened to us.
To make matters worse, that’s a low-lying area, which means that in addition to those downed wires, they may have to deal with minor flooding as well. And if you ask me, mixing minor flooding with this:
… is far worse than snapped bamboo, paper trash, or even a felled tree leaning against your house. Even if it’s a Toyotus sequoius.
Hope everyone in this area stays safe and dry!