Sunday, February 24, 2008

Severe Weather Alerts...

We have been having some bad weather out here in California, and I have to admit that storms and I dont' mix very well. My anxiety meter goes into overdrive and I start hyperventalating at the thought of a strong gust of wind. I'm okay with regular rainy weather, maybe some hail, a few strong downpours, no problem.

The anxiety starts when the storm warnings are issued. Mainly the high wind warnings. This, I'm sure stems from when I lived in Georgia during the one year they had a record hurricane season (we managed to cover the alphabet once and had to start over).

Being a California girl, I was not used to extreme weather, nor was I familar with winds so strong, that they blew roofs off shopping centers, fliped airplanes over at the local airport, and reduced the trees into a pile of firewoood right before your eyes.

I spent that whole year glued to the weather channel, and if there was a tornado warning, no rest or peace was had until it was gone. I lived in constant fear of a tornado, sweeping the house away, with me in it, a la Dorthey in the Wizard of Oz.

It is without sadness, that I left Georgia after one year, and despite the unusually active hurricane weather, I'm pleased to report that we had no tornadoes.

Which brings me to the present. I'm back in California, but now I live in the mountains. Bad weather in the mountains is none too pleasant, at least for someone like me. Once again, I'm glued to the weather channel watching every alert, but this time the alerts are flood and high wind warnings, road coslures and fallen trees.

Flooding, I don't personally have to worry about too much. Property wise that is. I have a creek in my backyard, but my house is on stilts high up on the hill, so if the creek gets high enough to flood, that's not really an issue, as our house would have slid down the mountain and floated away long before the water level reached it.

No, It's not the flooding that scares me. It's high winds, falling trees and sometimes, landslides. We actually had a landslide on our property the first year, as half of our upper mountain slithered down, and threatened to take over our propane tank. Since we like heat, hot water and the ability to cook, we decided it best to have the tank moved. This resulted in a huge battle with our propane service, but eventually, we got our way. Since it will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 to put up a retaining wall, we now totally ignore the crumbling mountain as it tries to annex the carport.

Just a quick note to the propane company: If you schedule for our tank to be moved after it has been emptied, because propane is a heavy gas, please do not send out a crew member to fill it back up the day before the moving of the tank was to take place, thus rendering it too heavy to move. Sounds simple doesn't it? Well this happened not only once, but three times!

Anyway, It's the trees that scare me the most coupled with high winds. Because I basically live in a forest, there are plenty of trees that can come down on my house and this is a major stress for me. On stormy nights like last night, I lie awake in fear of a redwood crashing through the roof, while my husband snores peacefully without a care in the world.

This may seem neurotic to some, and in a sense it is, but it's also a very real possiblity. When the ground is saturated and the winds are high, the trees go down. Redwoods being the biggest trees, may look sturdy, but their roots are actually not very deep, thus in my opinion making them strong candidates for toppling over. The mear thought of which reduces me to a quivering pool of nerves at every little noise, and offering silent prayers of survival to any deity who will listen. So far it seems to be working. :) Although, I have to say, of all the trees that do fall, I've yet to see a redwood go down. Needless to say, It still scares the crap out of me.

As much as I love living with nature (In the summer, spring and fall), it's times like this when I long to live in a city of sturdy cement buildings, and puny little trees. A place where no matter what the weather is you can feel secure that the house you live in, will stay standing and continue to provide a roof over your head.

That is unless there is an earthquake...

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