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Monday, September 24, 2012

Gone With The Wind!

Well the Santa Rosa storm that usually occurs in the last week of August never materialized but the month of September more than made up for it weatherwise.

The first week of September started in dense fog. For several days it thickened and a strange erie glow settled down upon us. Fog has a way of darkening the day but at the same time like frosted glass it diffuses light, so the days were incongruously dark and light. Air traffic was delayed, some planes were rerouted through Chili and for a few hours the airport closed during the thickest part of the day.

Days after the fog we had a reprieve with some very warm days that reminded me summer was just around the corner. Wally even bought a fishing pole and had some great ambitions (dreams) of catching fish but that's another post! Oops! No summer yet. The weather took a turn for the worse and it poured and poured down rain which proved to be a problem later on in the month.

After a few days when the rain finally stopped a beautiful double Rainbow appeared! This rainbow was so spectacular that photos of it appeared on many a Facebook site. Our neighbors took turns taking photos of each other with the rainbow behind them. It was so oo the thing to do that I couldn't help but snap a photo of Wally in front of it. He even hinted that we should run down to the beach and start looking for the fabled "POT OF GOLD" supposedly located at the end of every rainbow. The rainbow was that close to our house and bright that we thought it ended on the stretch of beach right in front of our house.

Usually a Rainbow comes at the end of a storm but as to weather, the big news out of Uruguay for September has been a fierce Tropical storm, a spring cyclone originating from Brazil. Almost hurricane strength winds blew for 2 days, howling away while trees swayed. During the worse of it we watched the TV news along with many others. The News warned everyone to stay home in their houses. Emergency telephone numbers were flashed. Scenes of Montevideo, the countries' Capital City showed firemen battening down the hatches. Later reports from people who work downtown in MVD said it was too dangerous to walk the streets as many high-storied apartment buildings windows' burst, raining down broken glass below. Cars had debris crush their tops from loose flying metal and garbage can lids. I have now learned that 2 people died in that storm, a father and son crossing a bridge. Many people were injured and even the President of this country, President Jose Mujica had his nose cut by flying debris.

Our power was intermittent during Wednesday, with lights flickering. Finally during the night on Wednesday September 19th. the winds blew so hard that havoc struck. Many trees came down with a roar. Thursday morning we awoke to no electricity. It was like the movie "The day After". The day itself was strangely calm because the winds had cleared the skies but the ground was littered with debris and trees branches.  I discovered that the lone pine tree in my neighbor's yard, a subject of many of my photos including the title photo of this post had broken in half taking down both our neighbor's and our power lines (the telephone line was dangling but working).

Since we had no power I went around the block checking on the damage to our neighborhood, taking photos. Across the street a neighbor who lives in Montevideo had their neighbors tree fall down in front of and blocking their house. The driveway way now blocked. I called them to let them know. The husband was worried about their newly installed Swimming pool but in my broken spanish I assured them the tree had fallen outside their property they just couldn't use the driveway. Of course that tree took out more power lines.

The wind Wednesday night was so strong that huge trees were simply uprooted and fell down along their entire length. One neighbor, a couple of blocks away, said she had quince trees (15 trees) come down! I had guessed 5 large ones but no, 15 she kept saying! It was a miracle that her house was still standing! All of the trees surrounding her house fell toward the street and not inward. Of course they brought down more power lines! After getting estimates for removing the fallen trees the cheapest she got was 800 pesos per tree and she had quince/15! However she was able to trade the work for the wood itself and thus save a small fortune. The sound of Gardeners and chainsaws filled the air on Thursday.

One house towards Salinas (the town nearby me) did have a tree fall on it's roof. I didn't see a crack in any of the walls though. I think the tree was just short enough to not have it's full weight land on the house but just it's top. Still, how scary to live through that!

Not since the year 2005 has such a strong wind storm occurred. It is said that Brazil knew before we did that we would experience the storm but that because of antiquated equipment and little money our weather-forecasters were not equipped to give an advanced warning. So talked about going on strike in protest.

About 10% of Uruguay has lost electric Power because of the storm and fallen trees. While most of my neighbors on my street seem to have power, we are in that 10%. It has been 5 days now that we are without lights, TV and yes internet! I have written this post on my portable laptop on battery power.

Crews are out fixing downed power lines as quick as they can. We do have telephone service so we were able to report our loss. Our refrigerator and freezer has now been emptied of food. Fortunately the storm hit the day before our feria food run so that we didn't have a weeks worth of food go rancid. The dogs enjoyed the last of our hamburger. The good news is that for a couple of days it's been sunny so that our Solar water heater (which didn't blow away) has provided us with hot showers. Our wood stove works with an electric blower so we can't use that but I bought last year a portable gas heater so we are keeping warm with that unit. Since we use tanks of super gas to cook with we can go to the store and buy food to cook with for the day, and of course, we have flashlights and candle power.

Still we can count our blessing! If you remember in earlier post our next door neighbor put a new roof on his house and he was concerned about our 2 towering pine trees. Well, he agreed to pay for their removal, and now how glad I am that they were gone before this storm arrived! Also, 2 visitors from the States, Lauren and Tim gave us a little gift of 3 candles when they left. Lauren had remarked how expensive they were and that since they were leaving the country to return back home they thought they'd give them to us. Well, little did we know then how much we would be grateful for that gift! While our other candles burned down in just a few hours those little candles in their holders lasted for 4 days! I guess you do get what you pay for! Many a neighbor has offered his house for cooking or showers but we had that covered. A bag of lemons mysteriously appeared on our doorstep. We were able to make cold tap water lemonade. So a big "Thank You" to whoever left that bagful.

Also, we are Thankful that we were able to attend our 3 day District Assembly smack-dad in the middle of all of this. We had our bus tickets prepaid and the Assembly Hall (several cities away) had heat and lights and Bible discussions all day so we were surrounded by our Christian friends.

The power just came on in our house but it's still iffy. When more than two lights are on they start to dim and flicker. I am publishing this post as quickly as I can while the power holds. Tomorrow, the 25th of September we are expecting a smaller wind storm. The winds have already started so let's hope we weather through this one as safely as the last. 


Anonymous said...

How sad that the tree in the view out your front window is gone. That tree/view has become quite famous and familiar as a result of your photography and the popularity of your blog. It just won't be the same without it.

Glad power is back and hope today's storm won't be a problem. Happy to hear there was no damage to your home.

Anonymous said...

...glad to read that both of you are OK and no damage to the house.

Patrick & Oria

Anonymous said...


We are pleased that you are in good health. We are so sad that this beautiful nature suffered, but this is normal!
Therefore, you do not have a generator?
Finally, life goes on and you had a great spiritual feast with your meeting. that is the main!

Wally said...

Thank you so much for all your best wishes. Denise posted by candlelight, but today we have full power restored and we're drinking coffee and doing laundry!

Polzic said...

Muy buen blog!

Te invito a visitar el mío!

Blog de LEGO

o si queres comprar juguetes LEGO te esperamos en

Bricktoys de Argentina

Avisame si te interesa intercambiar links! mis blogs son pagerank 3!

Tengo tambien

Horarios Buquebus

Futbol Total

Muchas gracias!

Anonymous said...

Would you happen to know if Atlantida has an immigration office? It looks like a lovely place to start our Uru. adventure!

Wally said...

Sorry, no immigration office in Atlántida. Montevideo or Maldonado have the offices.

Seamus said...

Best wishes to Wally and Denise for having survived the storm with no injury or severe loss.

I did have a good smile at the mention of the trees you cut at the request of your neighbor. It was wise. Looking at the photos of the uprooted trees, it's obvious that the soft, sandy soil there will not hold large deciduous trees in fierce winds.

And the loss of that tree in your view to the ocean is sad. It was a fine old tree full of character. It was very recognizable from your blog.