Saturday, September 14, 2019

Hurricane Dorian

Just about a week ago, the Maritime Provinces were hit by Hurricane Dorian, which actually sped up as it powered up the East Coast.  That was unusual, because most often, hurricanes slow down as they approach our area, and tend to reach the Maritimes with just some gusty winds and rain.  That wasn't the case this time.  Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Nova Scotia on Saturday, September 7 with wind speeds reaching 150 km/h (93 mph), essentially a category 2 hurricane.

I had left our home to go for a week's vacation with my parents in Prince Edward Island, starting on Friday, September 6, but Marc had stayed home for a couple more days because he wanted to come to the Island on his motorcycle.  The night of September 6, I slept off and on (more off than on) in our rented cottage on the Island, where I listened to sounds that made me think the roof might come off, and watched the back wall of the cottage flexing in the wind, about 1.5 inches each way, from what I could see.  It was a very scary night.  Marc was woken in the early morning hours by a tree falling on the roof of our house. 

By morning, the Maritime provinces had more than 500,000 residents without power, thousands of trees and power poles were lost, and even a construction crane collapsed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Many cell phone towers were damaged, leaving people without service.  In addition, more than 100 mm (4 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours.  Our situation was nowhere near as dire or catastrophic as the situation in the Bahamas, but it was very challenging none the less.

Our vacation was hampered, to an extent, by the loss of power, given that we were in a cottage where the water is pumped from a well, and when the power is out, there's no water.  We did a lot of reading and walking on the beach and enjoyed some lovely times despite the inconvenience of no power.

Upon arriving home yesterday, I was able to survey the damage around our home.  It wasn't pretty.  One of my favourite shade trees in our yard lost its largest limb, which I think is a fatal loss.  I will have an arbourist come and look at it, but I don't think it can survive this kind of damage.

From a distance in a picture, it doesn't look as bad as it does when you get closer, and when you see the size of my lens cap for scale.

The trunk has more-or-less been ripped in half.  Marc started some clean up of it yesterday.

There are some sizeable logs that will be useful for the next time we lose power in the winter - they will be burned in our wood stove.

The falling limb also took out my clothesline.  I will have to have a new post installed.  The old one is laying next to the chicken coop.  Thank goodness it didn't fall ON the coop!

The clean-up of the maple will take some time.  I'm really sad to have lost such a beautiful shade tree.  It narrowly missed my new arbour, for which I am grateful. 

It also missed my raised beds. My beautiful squash vines are pretty much toast, but the root crops are all OK.  The tomatoes have suffered somewhat but I am confident I will still get some more ripe fruits from them.

The tree that fell on the house and woke Marc in the middle of the night is on the back of the house.  It is a very large big-tooth aspen tree (Populus grandidentata).

Unlike the maple, the aspen was uprooted rather than snapped.  You can see it also took a couple of smaller spruce with it.

We are fortunate to have a steel roof, so there was no roof damage.

We do, however, have a badly cracked window that will need replacing.

I feel lucky that my bird feeder poles weren't taken out.  Amazingly, the hummingbirds are still around so you can see I still have the feeders on the window of my home office.

 Removing this tree will take some care and planning to ensure that no other windows are damaged.

I am very grateful for the limited amount of damage we have in comparison to so many others who were affected by Dorian, and am also very glad that none of our animals were hurt.  At the same time, we definitely have a lot of clean up to do, and I suspect I will have to have the rest of the maple taken down by an arbourist.  It is close to our power line and we need to be very careful about that.  I sure hope that's the only hurricane for this year.