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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Trees: vertical and horizontal - remnants of Astoria's "hurricane"

East of the column, from the road that leads to the top of Coxcomb Hill, you can still see the results of Astoria's big storm that occurred on the night of December 2-3, 2007. There are a number of places around town where damage is evident, particularly downed trees at the top of the hill and on the east and south sides of town. It always saddens me to see the degradation of our beautiful forest, but it could have been worse. We were told to expect "hurricane force" gusts and high sustained winds. Even so, our area is not noted for hurricane-force winds and storm reports usually err on the intensive side. While some individuals and businesses taped their windows and stocked supplies, many did not. In the morning, the town was a mess, with light poles and signs damaged, but destruction apparently random. One business would have its plate glass shattered (taped or not), while the next sustained no damage (taped or not). They say the "Columbus Day Storm" in the 1960s was a bit stronger, and apparenlty Astoria gets one of these whopping gales about once every 20 to 40 years. I think the official term ended up being "gale." If it had been designated a "hurricane," many property owners would have been ineligible for insurance or government aid, as it DOES matter what they call the high winds that blew off your roof! Astorians do not typically insure for hurricanes, because we've never had one. I understand that our area has only been given the opportunity to designate high winds as a "hurricane" in the past few years. In other words, the terminology is regulated by some board, and even hurricane-force winds could not have been given the designation of "hurricane" until this area had approval for the designation.

I do need to get back to work, so I'm not going to research further. I gathered bits and pieces from the web, but did not find any one resource that made a good link. I do know that we were among the 27,000 who lost power for several days. I was running my online business just gearing up for a much-needed Christmas season, and after the storm, I set up a base with Internet at a hotel an hour east of here. Lee drove between me with my printer and web connection and our cold, dark, building in Astoria daily while he and Sue packed and shipped orders in the freezing dark with flashlights. It could have been worse for us, and these trees stand as a reminder. We are back to normal again, with some lost time, some discomfort, and a few lost dollars of revenue, while the trees will take decades or centuries to recover. It gave us a little taste of what some of you go through on a yearly basis. I also treasure photos like this one showing the road to Coxcomb Hill in 2005. The forest is simply not as lush and full any more.

. Thursday Challenge: trees
. Think Green Thursday

5 comments:

Hyde DP said...

One of the worst storms to hit the UK was preceded by a weather forecasters telling the country that a hurricane was NOT on its way. If I believed forecasters previously I've not done since.

Jacob said...

I was going to say, it looks a lot like Florida after one of our hurricanes! I agree with your feelings about the forests. Why are humans so damn shortsighted most of the time?

Lee Spangler said...

That was an interesting description of those stormy days. What made it especially eerie was that all the stores, especially markets, gas stations and pharmacies were closed for several days. Also no power meant poor communication. It is a reminder of dependent we are on such services. How would be in a long drawn out crisis?

That is the chicken said...

I have seen the results of the same storm a little further up the coast in Canada. Amazing to see the huge trees those powerful winds can fell.

bowledover said...

We do not have such violent storms here often. I can only imagin the stress and strain you and your family went through.
When the going got tough the tough got going, is a thought that springs to mind.
May you not see another storm again for a very long time.
Thank you for your Sky Watch visit and comments.

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