Patrick’s Barn: Weathering the Storm
Almost a week after Hurricane Irene blew up the East Coast, our electric power was restored. The first couple days of doing without electricity was no big deal, but being without water (we have a well) gets old fast. When it became clear that it would take several days to get power restored, my wife and son decided it was a good opportunity to visit family in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Although much of Vermont was pummeled by the storm’s drenching rain and powerful wind, our family in Vermont was largely unaffected by the storm.
Despite being without power for days, I feel we were very lucky to come through the storm unscathed. Many of my neighbors weren’t so lucky. Hours before the storm was scheduled to hit our part of southern Connecticut, I was frantically installing hurricane straps and tightening down the roof tarp on our new barn. Thankfully there was no damage, although I’ll admit to being nervous the whole time the storm was raging.
When the power clicked off at 4:30 AM on Sunday, August 27th, I was looking out the window at the wind gust through our mature trees, hoping none of them would fall on the house. When the skies cleared about 12 hours later, we ventured outside with most of our neighborhood to survey the damage. Trees were down everywhere. Perhaps the oddest thing was seeing the lawn covered in leaves, just like fall, except the leaves were green and perfect.
With my family away, I took advantage of our few remaining summer evenings to finish the sheathing on the main gable. By 7:00 PM Thursday night, the sheathing was done, and the power came back on two hours later. It was a glorious day. The next day I took delivery of the roofing shingles and spent much of the Labor Day holiday nailing them on the roof. The shed roof was a piece of cake. It only took a few hours, but the main gable with its 12/12 pitch is slow going. Hopefully I’ll finish that work by the end of this coming weekend.
Read more about my barn here.
Over the Labor Day holiday, I made pretty good progress shingling the roof. My wife and son helped with much of the work. My little boy opened the bundles and arranged the shingles so they all faced the same direction, while my wife handed them up to me. It made things go much faster.
This is one of the more dramatic sights I saw after venturing out of my house after Irene passed to the north. In addition to smashing the two cars, it also ripped down the electric mast. Lines were down on every street in my neighborhood, which might explain why it took so long to have power restored.
This was perhaps the most heavily damaged home in my neighborhood. I ended up taking a lot of pictures for the homeowner, so she could expedite the insurance claim. The tree was removed and the roof tarped within 24 hours, saving a lot of further damage to the inside.
This was one of five breaches in my neighbor's roof. Water poured inside for hours. The owner's 18-year-old son was awakened by the impact. He described it as "the loudest crash I've ever heard. The house shook like you wouldn't believe."
Although Hurricane Irene left us without power or water for five days, I consider our family very lucky. Others in my neighborhood weren't so lucky. I was glad I spent the day before the storm battening down the hatches, although doing so interfered with my original plan.
Green leaves covered the ground. You could see them being ripped from the trees as the gusts tossed the trees. Large branches also covered the ground--some were sticking out like stakes.
We rested Monday. I took my boy to the playground in the morning, and we all played soccer with a ball we found among the bushes. I fired up the Weber kettle to celebrate, and we all got ready for the first day of school, which was delayed a week because of the storm. Life is good.