Goodness gracious! I was lucky - I am alive! I did not think I would live to see another day as I was stuck in my car on Friday night with trees falling and branch projectiles flying around all over the place. A freak storm, with no warning, came out of nowhere. We just now have electric back after being without it for 3 1/2 days and, of course, the temperatures were in the upper 90's with humidity feeling like 100%. No air conditioning, no electric, no hot water, no computers, no microwave, flashlights and instant coffee only (bad for a coffee-drinker), no TV, no phones, cell phones were working after two days, though. Trailer batteries only last for a period of time before they have to be recharged again. Ugh! I did have propane, though, so I was able to use my stove and my bosses ran a generator to keep the office open and during the day to keep one of the bathhouses open and water running to the sites. I did go and sit in my car from time to time to get cooled off and then wouldn't you know it - Murphy's Law kicked in - my car air conditioner decided not to work.
I've been through a number of hurricanes and never have I been through anything as bad as this storm was. According to information that has been reported (I haven't seen any news yet), it was a rare occurrence where winds come in horizontal cutting through trees like a sheering saw. The entire town lost power, trees were laying on lines, pulled up from roots, phone lines down- everything was closed due to lack of power. Even WaWa was closed-no restaurants open-no place to buy food or gas, traffic lights out, etc. It looked like a tornado hit except it was about 15-20 feet above the ground. We had approximately 20-30 trees that came down - most of which broke off about halfway up the trunk along with branches. Our campground was lucky that no one was hurt.
Anyway, I had just finished hosing down the one bathhouse (one of my many jobs) and went to the other one to put my clothes in the dryer. All of a sudden I hear fairly heavy winds and saw some lightning. I decided I had better go and shut everything off in my trailer. As I turned down my road I see one of the transformers on fire and then saw a tree laying across the road so I couldn't get to my trailer. I turn around to try to go around the other way and a big huge branch comes flying down, hit the hood of my car and my windshield. I tried to continue going, but the branch was stuck on my side mirror so I was going to have to get out and move it. No way that was going to happen. Here I am sitting in my car with all kinds of wind twirling around me and wood projectiles hitting my car all over the place. I am thinking these things are going to come through my windshield with me sitting here and there is nothing I can do about it. I shut my car off so I wouldn't explode and lay on my horn hoping someone would come and rescue me. What a stupid thing to think on my part - there was no way anyone was going to come outside unless it was to save their own skin. The projectiles were getting worse and worse, banging all over my car and I knew eventually one of them was going to come through my windshield. I could not stay where I was. Talk about being afraid - I was shaking all over. This all happened over a period of five minutes after I left the first bathhouse.
OK, I have to get out of here before I am history. I couldn't get out of my car. So I started rocking my car back and forth to see if I could release the branch and it did. I started driving riding over who knows what to get myself up front in the open field away from the trees. As I am driving I am being bombarded with projectiles. I finally made it up front and found the main road mostly blocked by trees also. It appeared I was about the third person who made it up front at that point. I parked my car in the middle of the field, shut it off and sat there. Now the rain had started, multiple bolts of lightning shooting across the sky, and the wind shaking my car. Now I am thinking I've gotten away from any trees that might land on me, but now I have to worry about projectiles and my car rolling over with me in it as I could feel the wind shaking my car. Fortunately, I had a couple of pillows so I positioned them in front and along side of me just in case something came through my windshield and I would not have to see the huge lightning bolts (no loud thunder though). There was nothing I could do about the other windows. (Ten minutes after I left the first bathhouse)
I was still shaking with fear at this point, knew I had stay put and wait this storm out so I just pictured a reassuring face of a friend in my mind. This calmed me down considerably and I was able to wait the rest of the storm out without fear taking control. It lasted approximately 45 minutes.
Once the storm was over I got out of my car and was glad to see so many people had made it up front so I decided to walk the park to see the damage. So campers could get out, my bosses were already starting to clear the trees off the roads that were blocked. My employers never cease to amaze me. I went to check the area where the branch came down on my car and was horrified with what I saw. Here a very tall tree had broken off and fell with branches, long branches, and small log-type branches lying around everywhere. If that tree had fallen in the direction of my car, I would have been history. I had to remove some of those small log-type branches that had gotten wedged on my roof rack. I sustained some small dents on the hood and the side of my car. I do not know why my windshield did not break or shatter when the branch fell on it. I guess my hood took the initial impact of the fall. I am glad I had my awning tied down, though. I think when the tree from another site fell into my site, the wind from it blew my awning up causing it to slip a notch and hold water. If it wasn't for the tie-downs, I more than likely would have lost my awning. Now that the tree and most of the branches that fell into my site have been removed, I can see a small live tree that is bent over with the top of the tree touching the ground. Who knows, maybe I might end up with a tree gateway on the side of my site. :) That would be an interesting effect.
The weird thing about this storm was that most of the stuff that was on the ground didn't get touched. I mean I had a coffee cup and things sitting on a table and they were still there. A portable flag on a site across from me was still in place which I could just blow on it to knock it down. Any property damage that was sustained was due to trees and branches falling from above and not from things campers had on their sites. Thank goodness, most campers did not sustain any damage.
I don't know what the news has said about it, but are you ready for this? We heard from someone who could get on the web that we were going to get a storm Saturday night that was going to be worse than the one we just went through with winds up to 90 mph (the night after the first one) . So I rolled up my awning and secured everything on my site. There wasn't anything. No wind-no rain-no storm-no nothing.
I am thankful that I am able to write about this and give everyone first-hand info from someone who was actually in the throes of the storm while it was in full-force. It is something I never want to go through again.
This article "Surviving a Freak Storm" was authored by ©PonGoad 2013. All Rights Reserved.