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August 2003 Freak Wind Storm

Not exactly home "improvement" but this was interesting.

In August 2003 we had one heck of a wind storm here in  Maryland.  The 75mph winds knocked trees over all around the area.  In our own yard, we lost two huge oaks out back, a dogwood (squashed by the falling oaks), a sassafras tree (fell across the driveway), the top of a large maple, and various plantings.  Of course, there were innumerable sticks and branches down on the roof, driveway and yard.  We also had our birdbath and the platform bird feeder smashed to nothing, and one of the bird feeder poles bent.

There was hardly any rain, but the winds were something else.  I was at work at the time, but Melissa said all the trees toppled within a few seconds.  Luckily we got away with only some smashed gutters.  Some other houses in the neighborhood did not get away quite so easily.

Starting the day after the storm, we lost power for just over 24 hours. Some other people in our area lost power for longer than that.

Here are some photos.

Here is the yard as it was before the storm.  The view is from our patio.  You can see the leaves from the dogwood behind the second tree truck from the left (just to the right of the deck support pole).  Behind and under the dogwood you can also see the bird bath.  Both the bird bath and dogwood were destroyed.  The loss of the dogwood was saddening to me as it was one tree all the birds liked to perch on - especially the downy woodpeckers.  It was also the only dogwood on our property that had no signs of the dogwood anthracnose disease that was killing all the other dogwoods.


Here's the photo we took the night of the storm (it was dark, so the photo isn't quite in focus).  You can't quite appreciate it from the photo, but the top of the tree is actually within a couple feet of the back of the house.


Here's the branch that flew up onto our deck and wrecked the side gutter.  This large branch was knocked off of the poplar in our back yard when the oak hit it on the way down.  Another branch bounced off the front gutter and ruined that.  This house was badly in need of seamless gutters anyway.  We also lost some shingles on the roof to another bounced branch, but those are easily replaced and there appears to have been no structural damage.


Here you can see that fully 1/2 of one of the two fallen oaks is standing.  Luckily that tree broke off where it did or we'd be replacing a roof right now.  It points up to a gaping hole in the canopy that wasn't there before the storm.  Now Melissa has to rethink her gardening plans for the back yard as all of a sudden we have a lot more sun :-)


Here's a view from the woods.  You can see how one of the oaks really split.


And here's what it looked like after a weekend of chainsawing the whole mess.  Nothing but firewood. :-)  Of course, the yard smells awful.  Who would have thought that fresh oak would stink the way it does. heh.


This poor Luna Moth didn't fare quite so well in the storm.  Just look at how torn up its wings are


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