My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Atlas Aftermath (The Destruction)

I think The Weather Channel should rename Winter Storm Atlas "Winter Storm Asshat" because of all the damage it did across so many states. As you can see in this slideshow, compared to several places - especially South Dakota with its fierce blizzard and tornadoes - we got lucky with "only" about 10 inches of snow, 45mph wind gusts, and a lot of downed trees and power lines. Despite my pessimism in my last post, I was able to save our own little trees from breaking and am now hopeful they'll survive, and although the school across the street lost power, we never did. But power was out all over town, schools and the local community college closed (that happens very rarely here), as did many businesses and most state and Interstate highways in and out of Sheridan (and Wyoming). But the ever-intrepid UPS was out delivering what they could in the mess (tomorrow will be a delivery horror show again in spite of it) and I was miraculously able to keep my massage and haircut appointments. After seeing some of the devastation on my way to those appointments, as soon as I got home I grabbed my camera and went back out to take some photos, and took more yesterday in the sunshine after BW and I walked the dogs. 

Mine aren't nearly as dramatic as the photos in the slideshow I linked to above and I missed getting a couple of the best shots because it was just too dangerous to try. But I did brave the slushy, icy streets (they didn't plow), downed and perilously-close-to-falling tree limbs and power lines, several non-working traffic lights at some of Sheridan's busiest intersections, and a ridiculous amount of traffic (some of which were utility trucks and emergency vehicles, but most of which were regular civilians - and I didn't see any of THEM with cameras to their faces, so what were they thinking? LOL) to bring you these photos of the storm's local destruction...

These first three were close to home in our neighborhood:

One of several large trees that shade - err, shaded - the front of the elementary school across the street. Most of them took fatal hits like this one. :-(

A neighbor's house by our mailbox bank. Note the garden hose... people were still mowing and watering lawns last week, and no one has had their sprinkler systems winterized yet.

This was a lovely row of large trees along the road leading out of our neighborhood.

All over town there were a lot of close calls...




And several direct hits...



This house was for sale two years ago and we'd looked at it before rejecting it as overpriced and needing far too much work. The people who bought it fixed it up (at least on the outside) and are probably less than thrilled at this huge tree limb crashing into their window! At least it didn't land on their roof.

Doesn't that figure? They're seriously needing that gutter as all this snow melts (which it was already doing with enthusiasm in yesterday's warm sunshine)!

This is the fence around one of our favorite houses in town, part of which is pictured below...

Big cottonwoods, elms and maples all over town were looking like this. They're not supposed to be shaped like weeping willows! (Note the large downed tree limb on the right). At least I was able to shake the snow and ice off our little trees, there was nothing anyone could do for the larger ones except listen helplessly to the loud cracking sounds all over town, now replaced with the sound of chainsaws. Like I said, "Winter Storm Asshat!"

I tried to get into Kendrick Park (where we lived when we rented Dragonfly Cottage), but first was stopped by this tree limb across the road...

... and then by barricades erected by the city at each entrance. I'd heard through the hair salon grapevine that Kendrick Park was a tragic mess with all its huge deciduous trees. :-( In sad irony, there's a sign at this entrance declaring Sheridan's status as a "Tree City USA." 

With the traffic and downed power lines making my photo safari increasingly treacherous I headed to the much quieter cemetery...


And while there, as well as closer to home, I also got some photos of the beauty to try to balance out the destruction, and plan to share those in my next SkyWatch Friday post (I'm burning some midnight oil to make time to put one together before Jo's arrival on Thursday). So until then, enjoy the Fall colors for me if you've got 'em! Because what few we were starting to get around here now look like this...

32 comments:

  1. Oh, my goodness! What a mess! That picture with the hose says it all. This seems like way too much of a clobbering for the first part of October.

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    1. I think everyone here agrees! We're used to these kinds of storms in the spring, but this was a real doozy for this time of year. I can't remember a snowstorm this big this early, when the trees still had all their leaves, and this is our 24th Autumn in Wyoming. Did you see the slideshow? The snow in South Dakota is unbelievable! And now I see that Louisville, KY got nearly 6" of rain yesterday and is flooded, and I'm sure that's part of the same storm we had. What a mess indeed!

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  2. So, I'm not a TV watcher. I get channel CBS and aside from Pats games, Survivor, and Amazing Race...well, that's it.
    And, I'm out of the loop. Had no idea people were getting hammered with shitty winter weather-in October no less. Don't you go sending any of that snow this way please and thank you.
    Looks like the trees did not fare well at all. Glad you were careful as you ventured out. You need to send some of your pics to include in that slide show. My expression would be just like Josie's.
    Haven not been blogging much. Just hung my first art show at the local library. 40 images from Cuba. Quite a learning curve on how to put a show together....to the tune of $700. Couldn't afford to frame-just mats. It looks good tho and will hang there until October. One never know if something or nothing might come from it.
    Also taking a class on web development at the local community college. Holy headache batman-the young set all move so quickly on the keyboard that the pace of class goes fast. It's all I can do to just copy what the instructor is doing and then try to figure out what the style= and why some have " " and some have : and why the hell my closing brackets aren't working. I'm in HTML hell, and I hear the CSS coming soon to a classroom near me is even harder. I will be smarter after this, certainly. Anyone who spends 5-6 hours on an hour long HW assignment has to get smarter-of is a candidate for failure. I have pulled my 67% average up to a hardly respectable 75. Egad.
    So-hi, hope things are well aside from the snow. Hope you're enjoying that new home. Hi to BW and I'll likely catch you again in December when HTML hell is over.
    : )

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    1. Hey, Sue ~ you sound like my friend Joanne. She never watches/reads/listens to the news and never knows what's going on either, though how she avoids hearing (or overhearing) some things from family, friends, neighbors or co-workers is beyond my comprehension! At least you know how the Patriots are doing (not a good day today, looked like the entire team has been spending their nights in your web development class!!!) Thanks for the update - it sounds very challenging, but kudos to you for constantly expanding your horizons and learning new things and not being afraid to challenge yourself!

      If only I had control over the weather like you seem to think I do. Everyday would be 75º-80º and sunny with gentle rains most nights, except for October which would have perfect Fall weather, November which would be blustery and cozy, and December and January which would snow festively. Then back to 75º-80º. If only I were the Goddess of the Universe. :-) Anyway, thanks for stopping by - hope to catch up with you soon when things are quieter for us both! xoxo

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  3. So so sad to see a downed tree...it make me want to weep.
    Jane x

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    1. I know, I don't even like to see them injured! And to see so many - especially the big, old ones - suffer such catastrophic damage was truly heart-wrenching.

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  4. And it is only early October!! Glad you are safe and avoided at least some of the disaster! Great photos!

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    1. Thank you, Daphne! And I know, I keep checking the calender to make sure I'm not dreaming the date - it's surreal! (And today was so pleasant I spent part of it in shorts and bare feet - tomorrow is supposed to be in the upper 70's! Schizo weather).

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  5. Yikes! I agree that they should rename the storm Asshat. That was quite the brutal one! Amazing what nature can do.... We're debating whether to store the Airstream in our driveway or keep trying to find an inside place to store it (which we've had no luck on), but after seeing this I'm leaning towards storage.

    Hopefully the weather gets much nice for a while before winter arrives for good. My mood would be matching the weather if we had that here!

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    1. I was just saying to BW on Saturday as we walked the dogs and surveyed more of the damage, "What is it with Mother Nature? Why does she seem to take such delight in creating such beauty and then demolishing it?" I hate that about her.

      I hope you're able to find inside storage for Ayla. MIke's folks don't have a shed or barn or something you could keep her in? If she can handle a snow load on her roof, I'm sure she'd be find this winter. But it's hail season I'd worry most about - and anymore, you can't count on a season coloring inside the lines! Tornadoes and blizzards in the first week of October? Sheesh.

      The weather is turning beautiful this week, but frankly I wish it would have stayed cozy for my house cleaning and been beautiful while Jo's here. By the way, some of our rosemary, our thyme, and a lot of our African basil came through that awful storm, as did some of our marigolds! (So did the wasps, grasshoppers and box elder bugs!) Tough critters!

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    2. Wow, tough critters indeed! I wish we'd get a hard freeze here for the simple fact that I want the ticks to be killed off. Emma & Rowan have each had one on them lately. *shudder*

      Mike's parents do have a shed but it's full of their stuff. There are barns that offer storage but we're hesitant to do that because of the birds & mice that live in them. Hail is really the only thing we have to worry about and it's never been bad for the 20 years I've lived here. Now that I said that, though....

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    3. I've always hated it when we've had bad tick years, and those Wisconsin ticks need to be hibernating by now and leave Emma and Rowan alone!

      I hear you about the wee critters that live in barns and would think they were pootin' in tall cotton if they could spend the winter in a spiffy Airstream! A lot of folks here have big motor homes and 5th wheels, and most of them store them outside in the winter. Would you be able to just park her in your driveway where you could check on her from time to time? And yeah, hopefully you didn't just jinx yourself and the rest of Sheboygan with that positive comment about hail! (You sound like me, lol)

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  6. What a sad mess. Erratic weather systems seem to be the norm now, just as we've been warned they would be. I'm glad you were spared excessive damage to your personal property, and you didn't loose power. Hope the rest of the winter will be less violent.

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    1. I agree completely, Andrea, and appreciate your kind words. Our friends Al and Jackie with the Backyard Wildlife Habitat (the ones from my "An Accidental Garden" post last July) had a lot of beautiful big trees and a lot of fruit trees, and suffered quite a bit of damage. They're having a local tree service out on Wednesday to see if two of their big trees can be saved, their maple is a total loss, and she said they have a big cleanup job on their hands with all the branches down everywhere. And it's the same all over town - all over the state, too, I hear! So sad. The trees are one of Sheridan's best features! Like you, I hope winter will be more gentle for us all - but I don't have a good feeling.

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  7. I am so sorry. And firmly believe that the world is diminished each time we lose a tree.
    I hope that the weather (world wide) moves into a more kindly mode. But doubt it. For which we should share some at least of the blame.

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    1. Funny, I hadn't read your comment yet when I wrote my response to Andrea - but we were clearly thinking alike! And I agree, in fact I think we are to blame for most of it. It's just scary how quickly the weather turned so constantly unpredictable and so frequently violent. Don't know if you got a chance to view the slideshow I linked to, but it's quite amazing to see the snow amounts in South Dakota. BW used to have to go to Rapid City for his USAF Reserves training, and always went during this first week of October. Sure glad he's been retired from that for several years! (For all kinds of reasons!)

      And I totally agree about the loss of a single tree. We need more of them, not fewer! Yet we keep losing them in frightening numbers through fires, clear-cutting - and now blizzards. *sigh*

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  8. TW! Glad your trees weren't big enough to come crashing through your windows. I hate it when trees meet their end in storms like this. "Only 10"!?!? If we ever get that much here, it's cause for the National Guard to come in....lol! Glad you're safe and sound and didn't lose power ;-).

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    1. Us too, Spudly! And yeah, "only 10" - given that they had 2 1/2 FEET of snow down in Buffalo (about 30 miles south of here), and 4 feet in parts of South Dakota! The storm definitely got worse as it headed east.

      We actually have a National Guard unit here, but I think they lost power there. I didn't see them among the traffic Friday! ;-) And thanks, we're glad too. It's a shame BW will have to put in such a long day today because of the storm - he usually gets Mondays off and I sure could have used his help around here today!

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  9. Oh, my goodness!!!!!!! I had to check the date as I thought I was looking at photos from last winter! Is it common for you to get snow in October in your neck of the woods? I hate to think what winter will be like!
    Such a shame to see devastated trees. And though I'm sorry for the people whose tree came through their window, I'm so glad you didn't buy that house!
    Hope you're keeping safe and warm. Sorry it's been so long since I was on here... Love and hugs...
    Penny

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    1. Penny!!! Great to see you! :-)

      I know, crazy, isn't it? I felt like Rip Van Winkle looking out the windows Friday and Saturday, like I feel asleep on Oct 3 and woke up on Jan 3! We can get snow as early as September here, but it's usually just a little and often doesn't stick - we don't generally get any significant snow till around Halloween and even then it's NOTHING like this. This was definitely unusual, especially for the places that measured their snow totals in feet and not inches! We're wondering what winter will be like too, although today is supposed to be sunny and in the upper 70's! It's nuts.

      I couldn't tell if that tree actually went through that house's window - I don't think it did, and I sure hope it didn't. They did a lovely job fixing that house up - it was in pretty bad shape a couple of years ago (so we're glad we didn't buy it too, for more reasons than just this one! Though it is in my favorite neighborhood in town, Residence Hill, which is now a dreadful mess because of all the large trees there). And it looked like this tree JUST missed landing on their fence, which also would have been a shame because the fence was one of the things we'd admired about the property. At any rate, it's definitely a shame about the tree, and all the other trees in all the places that got this storm!

      No apologies necessary, and unfortunately it will be a while before I can repay your visit! It's been that kind of summer and is shaping up to be that kind of Fall. But I'll try to be in touch soon! Hope all is well (and snow-free!) across the pond! :-) Love and big hugs back...

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  10. Hi! So sorry. I looked the slide show too. What a heavy snow there is! I feel glad that you are safe.

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    1. Hi, Minoru! And thank you, we're glad that we're safe too! Isn't that slide show something?? I'm glad you were able to see it. This was an unbelievably heavy snow, very wet and with a lot of ice, too. It rained for about 36 hours before it turned to snow. Driving under some of those big trees with their drooping branches was pretty scary...

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  11. Oh wow! What amazing photos of weather's destruction... Poor nonhumans that call those trees and branches home. But this is just nature right? We humans make it complicated though, with our homes, fences, cars and property... We're forced to take the bad with the benefit I guess.

    Glad you and yours managed to escape any major damage.

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    1. Thanks, Bee! I know, I'm hoping all the nesting birds who migrate had already left! Fortunately, there are still a lot of undamaged trees around, and damaged ones that will probably survive, so I don't think any of the critters will be homeless for long. (And if I were them, I'd build my next home in a spruce tree!) :-)

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  12. I almost feel guilty for sitting here in our 70ºF sunshine.
    Your pictures remind me of the almost tornado that hit us back in July with so many down trees - minus the snow of course. Just lots of rain. It was gut wrenching to see.

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    1. No, no - you soak up that wonderful warmth for us! (Actually, we had a beautiful weekend with temps close to that and were happy to enjoy it. But now, except for tomorrow's forecast, it's all rain, snow and wind again for days! Bah, humbug!) So sad about your tornadic winds and resulting tree loss! It is gut wrenching to see.

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  13. Oh gosh -what horrible destruction for many.

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    1. I know, there were a lot of sad faces around here as the big stacks of tree limbs piled ever higher.

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  14. Yikes -- looks like a wet snow -- these can do such damage as you show -- bringing down large branches etc. We used to have such snows when I lived in Michigan. Stay well - be safe -- barbara

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    1. Yes, that was the problem - a lot of heavy, wet snow (and ice) on all those leafy trees. Funny you'd mention Michigan, since my friend Jo from Michigan is sitting here beside me at the moment, and she confirms your observation about heavy, wet Michigan snows! :-)

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  15. Looks like a hell of a storm, those poor trees. Glad you're ok. Bx

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    1. Hey, Barbara! It was definitely a hell of a storm! I felt badly for BW having to be out working in it, and I was glad to be back home (though NOTHING was going to keep me from going out in it with my camera, you know how THAT is!) :-) The poor trees indeed, it was carnage (60,000 cows died in the storm in South Dakota, which was a far worse tragedy, and one that would never have happened if we lived in a vegan world!)

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
  • MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
  • MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
  • ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
  • QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
  • THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
  • THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
  • THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
  • THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"