28 Oct 2013

28th October 2013 Storm

Monday 28th 52F, 11C, windy with rain. The storm is supposed to peak in the later afternoon. I don't hold out much hope for our neighbour's double carport roof. The sheets are held down with a few logs and pallets. A corrugated plastic sheet is just lying on the ground on top of some pallets. The problem is his carport is upwind of us!

In the last big storm, of '99, another neighbour's double garage, corrugated steel roof was rolled up by the wind, lifted into the air and dropped a few hundred meters away. It must have travelled right over over the top of our house and lots of tall trees to reach the field behind us! As it was dark and the power had already gone off we never saw a thing. Though we could certainly hear some awful noises. We lost an area of roof on the downwind, suction side which took some time to detach itself. Hopefully the roof is much stronger this time around thanks to its beefed up construction. With the heavy rain it is definitely a rest day even if it wasn't so windy. I put up a wind vane on a pole in the front hedge before it became too nasty to venture outside.

2.45pm we had to go out and rescue a garden table top which was supposed to be sheltering some plants. The heavy braces had fallen off with the shaking. While we were outside there was a huge gust, the air was full of swirling leaves and we were buffeted by giant pillows. After quickly weighing down the table top flat on the ground we dashed back indoors again.

The strength of the wind really is building quickly now. I'm worried about the birches right beside the bike shed if they should fall. The sheets on the neighbour's carport roof are flapping like fish on the deck. I've no idea how they are still clinging on. There is no real direction to the wind though it does seem to be turning slightly more south westerly than southerly. Debris is going in all directions. It really is getting very noisy and frightening now with a steady roar and the trees bending right over in the vicious gusts. Still over an hour to the forecast peak wind speeds.

16.42 The very worst seems to be over now. Though with heavy gusts still effortlessly bending the trees. Assorted debris took turns to move around the field in front of us. Waves raced endlessly across the uncut grass. One large plastic bag floated high, was trapped in a tree and then unaccountably fell free again.

17.00 The hedges are still rocking back and forth as if they were solid objects. I can see one broken branch hanging on a large cherry tree as the sky quickly darkens through ever deeper shades of uniform grey. Perhaps nature was complaining about us putting the clocks back? It was certainly a brutal tantrum!

The neighbour's carport roofing is standing up in oddly sized pyramids where the sheets have risen and lodged together. Two neighbours' greenhouses are much the worse for wear. Thanks goodness it wasn't as bad as the storm of 1999! This one passed over much more quickly and without the inhuman cross between a moan and a high pitched roar. The storm of the century in '99 also happened in the pitch dark. Our imagination only adding to the fear of the unexpected.

The news is coming in that two people were killed by the storm. One by a flying roof tile and another by flying debris. Many areas were without power at times during the day. The highest windspeed ever recorded in Denmark in '99 was beaten today by 2 m/s at 53m/s or 118mph in South East Jutland. Fyn experienced 40m/s in places which is not far off 90mph!  Police are warning against storm tourists who are ending up as victims themselves due to flying and falling debris, branches and trees.

Finally, the email server is down at my ISP. The NSA must be absolutely furious having a few less innocent victims to monitor around the clock. The variation on possible meanings of NSA trip so easily off the tongue.

Tuesday 29th 47-50F,8-10C, very windy, overcast. Showers and 30mph gusts forecast for today. The online news reports are coming in of the damage done to Denmark by the storm. Many ignored the warnings given by the police and fire brigade. Some paid dearly for it. Like one cyclist who rode through a group of old trees at the height of the storm and ended up in intensive care for his idiocy. Another women is critical after standing out on her balcony and being hit by debris from a house across the road. Joggers and traffic carried on as normal. Even entering cordoned off danger areas with fallen trees just to avoid personal inconvenience.

The road near our home was just as busy as any other day at the height of the storm including several horse boxes and camper vans. As fully expected, from repeated previous experience, the major bridges which connect the Danish land masses were closed due to overturned lorries. One might have thought that lorries could be stopped much earlier in a storm to allow car traffic to continue to cross until/if conditions become too dangerous. This might reduce the many miles and hours of tailbacks, of all traffic, every time the roads are completely blocked by large vehicles.

Went for an early walk in the rain. The brain dead commuters were practising their lack of skill at Scalextric on sopping wet roads with loads of debris lying and huge spray clouds in tow. Half a dozen trees were down within a 20 minute walking radius. Some were large but no obvious damage to buildings. Several had fallen across the road but had been sawn up and just shoved aside for later tidying up.

I set off for my ride after coffee with  a very gusty tail crosswind on saturated roads. Getting sprayed by speeding traffic only added to the fun. But their right to speed always exceeds my right to survival. Meanwhile, the idiot on the trike was avoiding an almost continuous carpet of debris blown from trees and hedges. Several trees along my route had been snapped off a couple of feet off the ground.  Thunder rumbled ominously overhead as dark plates of threatening cloud raced across the sky but it stayed mostly dry between short showers.

Having emerged from the last supermarket the sky had become very dark and it started tipping down almost immediately. With only 6 miles to get home I plodded on into a partial headwind while I being constantly battered by torrential rain mixed with hail. I passed white drifts of hail against the verges as I fought through a continuous river of moving water.

Fortunately I had the Aldi waterproof jacket on which kept my body warm as literally every part of me quickly became completely sodden. The GripGrab Doctor Gel gloves were useless. Wet through within minutes and hopelessly cold despite the relatively mild temperatures. Brand new GripGrab overshoes offered very little protection against the mudguard-less, tyre spray. Both my socks and shoes were soaked right through within minutes of leaving home. I wish I could say they kept my feet warm despite the wet. They didn't.

As I stripped off for my second hot shower of the day the fronts of my legs were bright red and stinging badly. I presume my wet skin had been chilled despite the tights and shorts. Probably the heaviest rain I have ridden though for quite a few years. It was coming across the fields in opaque sheets driven by 30-40mph winds. The Aldi jacket arms proved not to be fully waterproof but still did a fair job for the very low price. I was glad for the TA cap under my helmet too. The peak offers some facial protection against the worst of the wet weather and helps to keep my yellow sunglasses dry enough to see clearly ahead. Only 14, fairly soggy, miles.

Wednesday 30th 46F, 8C, overcast, windy. Rain and showers forecast. I may use the Higgins (with its mudguards) but still haven't changed the worn-out cassette. What you might call a roundtoit. It should only take about half of an hour if I can work outside. Longer, if I have to work in the cramped shed. It is only a matter of removing the rear wheels and outboard bearing cups. The axles can then be withdrawn enough for the old cassette to fall out. Then the cassette is removed from the Trykit 2WD body and the new cassette fixed in place. Followed by a reversal of the previous steps. Hopefully I will remember to thread the chain this time! I usually forget it and have to break the chain and rejoin it again. Tying the chain to the top and back reinforcing loops with string would help. I do not tend to work with the haste of a Formula 1 pit crew.

The rear end went quickly and well. I wish I could say the same for the brakes and stem. I had to dismantle the brakes and polish the pivots with rock wool. A bit of grease will offer lower friction until it all gets mucky again. The old fashioned headset has an A-head adapter fitted which has jammed itself irrevocably. I had made a sleeve in the lathe for the oversized stem clamp. However, the top tension screw has lost its grip so I can't fix the handlebars securely. It has rained on and off all morning which hasn't helped at all. I'm trying to work outdoors to have more room and better light. I almost finished before I had to go out. 9 miles.

Thursday 31st 48-50F, 9-10C, heavy grey overcast wind building. Had an hour's walk but my pictures were dire. Gloomy, misty and colourless. I set off on my trike after coffee with a tailwind. There were literally dozens of felled trees on my route. Many snapped off some distance off the grounds. Lots of broken and fallen branches ripped off mature trees. The bright gashes of freshly splintered  wood were visible on the face and sometimes deep into the forest. Several new gaps were left in mature avenues of oaks. A headwind coming back with a very heavy load of shopping. 18 miles.

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