Saturday, February 21, 2009

Weather Mayhem

You may have wondered why I didn't update my blog for a couple days. Or, perhaps not. I'm going to explain my absence to you anyway.

As I left the office last Wednesday, our receptionist informed me about tornado warnings that were in effect until 8:00 that evening. Walking out the door I was immediately struck by the very warm temperatures - 71 degrees - and brilliant blue skies. Tornado warning? I didn't believe it. As I drove to my hair appointment I phoned my daughter and we both chuckled about the weather warning.

I was getting a hair cut in Peachtree City when the storms first appeared. Skies were churning an ominous green color and emergency sirens could be heard in the distance. Patrons in the salon were uneasy, but I urged my stylist to finish so I could leave. The salon receptionist came to tell me my daughter had phoned - a serious storm at her home in Tyrone was dropping large hail and heading toward my house (I live about 10 minutes away from their home in Fayetteville). The glass front windows in the salon were bowing in and out from the change in air pressure and creaked ominously. Still I urged Carol to finish quickly. I was concerned about my three pups at home alone.

By the time I made my way home, the main storm had passed. Temps had dropped 19 degrees in the wake of the storm. Driving by our neighborhood, the damage looked minimal. I continued to drive to our old home (currently empty and for sale) about a mile from our new house. The ground fog was so thick I couldn't see anything in front of me. I crawled along at about 10 mph until I reached the entrance to Ashley Forest. The crunching of tires on the road was deafening - I thought I was driving on debris from the storm and didn't realize I was driving on ice. Reaching our driveway on Gray Fox, I was stunned to see snow covering the lawn. Dummy me - it wasn't snow, it was ICE! Not just ice, but hail the size of tennis balls! Storm debris was everywhere.

Photo courtesy of Chere at Miss Priss Follies

We were fortunate to have sustained only minor damage. By comparison, many families lost entire homes. In all, 10 tornadoes touched down in our immediate area of Fayette and Coweta counties. The hail tore through our pool furniture and shredded every window screen. An insurance adjuster will determine the amount of damage to our roof, but already neighbors have reported serious damage. Thank goodness for insurance.

While the hail shown below doesn't look all that serious, let me explain. I collected several large hail stones to take home. I knew Doughboy wouldn't believe me, so I planned to place them in the freezer to show him later. Arriving home to Annelise Park, everything was dark. The street lamps were unlit and there were no lights in homes. It was eerily dark except for the flash of lightening every where. I sat in a dark house, alone with my pups, with nothing but candle light and the natural gas fireplace for comfort. I played solitaire on my laptop computer waiting for the power to be restored. I eventually gave up my wait and went to bed. I watched the flash of lightening through our bedroom windows until finally falling asleep. Somewhere around 3:00am Thursday the power came on. That is the reason I haven't posted. And that is why the hail stones don't appear as big as they were when first collected - they melted quite a bit while the power was off. But they are still BIG! View more hail photos at my friend's blog here. She lives a mile away from me in the opposite direction of our old house. According to a local newspaper article, hail the size of grapefruit was documented. Grapefruit!

Yes, it could have been much, much worse. My heart and prayers are with the families who lost everything; however, our severe weather season is only just beginning. I can only hope our luck continues to hold.


Mental P Mama said...

That was some scary stuff. I'm glad you are okay, and hope the rest of the storm season spares you.

Deb said...

Glad you are safe and did not sustain any serious damage. Fred and I watched the storms bounce all around us and wondered about our Fayetteville friends.
You know you can slice the hail in half and determine the number of rings in it? This tells you how many times the hail bounced up and down in the atmosphere gaining size. Glen Burns told me that!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I have read about such hail Debra but never seen it - so thank you for posting the photographs. Such weather must be terrifying. Glad you are OK> as you say thank goodness for insurance - that and you being unhurt are all that matters. Sad for those who lost a lot = let us hope they too are insured.

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Sarah S. said...

That sounds really scary! I am glad you only got a minimal amount of damage!

Country Girl said...

Oh my God! I didn't see this until now. I didn't know Chere lived that close. Saw hers last night and should have come right here! Oh, my.

Pam said...

I grew up in Conyers and at the age of 11 (1973) a tornado hit our house and we lost the entire roof. It's something I will never forget. Glad you are all safe.

Judyann said...

Oh My GOSH. That is amazing.