Big cleanup today!

Discussion in 'General Survival Discussion' started by Jezcruzen, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Jezcruzen

    Jezcruzen Well-Known Member

    The center of Virginia was hit hard last evening by a string of very violent storms.

    Our Wx radio began sounding the alarm as early as 4 0'clock yesterday, warning of the storms approach from the SW.

    About 6 O'clock we were were placed into a tornado warning, and I called my wife to look at the bank of black clouds out to the west of us. I soon began.

    Heavy rain sweep in towards the house. I could hear it approach through the woods behind the house as it rattled the tree branches. I watched as the chickens made a bee line into the chicken house.

    My wife and I sat in the den watching through the french doors out to the deck and hail began pelting. The hail grew to about nickel size. It covered the deck, the yard, the woods. It piled up against the french doors.

    I noticed a trickle of water coming from beneath the door. Hail had created a little dam holding a pond of water, which began finding its way inside.

    I checked the basement and found water there, too. Water in the garage as well. It was raining so hard that the gutters couldn't keep up. Rain water had ponded up against the basement and garage doors, allowing the water to stream in beneath the doors.

    We "sandbagged" the basement door inside and out. We retrieved a ten foot length of plastic drain pipe and attached it to a down spout to re-direct gushing rain water away from the house. Using a push broom and a square-point shovel, Laurie and I were able to move water away from the doors on the concrete pad and push it off into the yard.

    I retrieved our big shop vac and configured it for water duty, then began removing the water from the basement. (the basement is where we keep our stores). That done, we checked to make sure that the basements contents were dry and undamaged.

    We retained electrical power throughout this ordeal, thank God. If we hadn't caught the water in the basement as early as we did and been able to use the shop vac (I do have a genny) it would have been a lot worse inside.

    The power flickered off momentarily several times around 9 O'clock. Soon after it went off and didn't come back on. Still raining, but now just a steady drizzle. I got a flashlight and retrieved four kerosene lanterns from the basement and sat the around the kitchen and den. Our supper was still in my dutch oven sitting in the stove. Laurie and I had a romantic late supper by lantern light - braised chicken w/rice, sweet peppers, and mushroom soup!

    SITREP - We now have gravel out all the way to our chicken house where the heavy rain and run-off pushed it from our drive-way. There is a section washed out, leaving a deep rut and more gravel pushed off into the yard.

    The "ever bearing" strawberries that I planted a week or two ago, and which was doing so well and that I was so proud of, were beat into the ground. Recovery is unlikely, but I am hopeful.

    During the heaviest of the rain a creek developed across our front yard, rushing down towards the garden. This morning there is a wide, deep, gully through the middle of the garden and garden soil washed out into the field below. I had just recently amended the garden with horse manure and tilled it all in. If it had been dry yesterday morning I would have had carrots and lettuce planted before the storms hit.

    Our swimming pool is over-flowing this morning. We hadn't opened it up yet, and it still is covered. I'll have to get the pump running today and pump off the excess.

    The hail stripped all of our dogwoods of their recently emerging blossoms. Our tulips and daffodils fared no better. I noted that during and after the storms I could smell the evergreens... like the smell of a Christmas tree. I guess the hail beat them, too, causing the sweet aromatic scent. It was nice, but not under these circumstances.

    We have debris covering the deck. Mostly small sticks and oak "tags" - those dangly things some oak trees get this time of year. I imagine our roof and gutters are full, too. I'll need to check the shingles for any damage. This same type debris is all in the yard, up against the rear of the house where the rain washed it, out covering the pool and concrete border... everywhere.

    Thankfully we never got any high winds yesterday. We caught the invading water early and were able to successfully intervene to avert any damage.

    LESSONS LEARNED - We didn't have a lot of material destruction. Certainly nothing like our brothers and sisters south and west of us due to the early tornados. Mostly we just have a bit of clean-up. I will re-plant and re-till and move on.

    I need to have a flashlight in every room, including the bathrooms. I have several flashlights in strategic spots, but moving through the dark from room to room to find them was a pain. I'm getting more flashlights - upstairs and down.

    Once we lost power, the kerosene lanterns worked OK. But I had to go down in the basement to get them, and the smell of kerosene is not all that pleasant to me. I think I'll investigate two or more hurricane lamps that are decorative enough to leave out all the time, maybe on the fireplace mantle, were they could be accessed quickly. The hurricane lamps give off a lot of light - more than do the lanterns - and could be filled with scented lamp oil. They should look nice enough that my wife can tolerate them being out all the time.

    In the 22 years we have lived here, we have never had the problem of water getting underneath the doors like we did last night. Bath towels helped a lot in keeping more water from coming in, but maybe I should have a few real sandbags handy just in case this repeats itself. After all, the Wx has gotten pretty screwy, hasn't it?

    As I was writing this, our WX radio alarmed to let us know we are in a flood watch. The forecast is for more storms today, including high winds, heavy rain, and more hail. I sure hope I won't be sending you another one of these tomorrow morning!
  2. oldvet

    oldvet Well-Known Member

    Datgum Jez, what a night huh? Glad you two made it through OK and also happy to hear that no major damage was done. I will say a prayer or two that you stay safe and sound tonight if you do get hit with another storm.

  3. Immolatus

    Immolatus Just getting started. Always.

    Sounds like quite an adventure, putting it lightly.
    Glad yall are safe!

    "LESSONS LEARNED" Always a good thing.
  4. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    Our clean up will have to wait ... the storms from NC are working across the line as I type.

    For the first time in a number of years we hit the cellar as one cell moved over us. Black clouds with that blue/green tint are a warning from Mother Nature... one that I take. :D

    Jezcruzen ~ Glad to hear you and yours are alright.
  5. rifleman

    rifleman New Member


    I'm in central va. Myself.
    This heavy rain is just showing us an example what could come later,

    A few years ago, I built a cabin in the woods about 35 minute drive from the city.
    It's about 2000 ft. Above sea level. That may give some protection from certain things
    Happening, but you never know.

    I've been buying seeds and long term storage can foods off and on as I can afford.
    I suppose we can only do what we can afford to do.

    I think some of us that live close should work together and that will make it better for the who,e group,
    at least we would all have a better chance.

    Just a thought,

  6. Jezcruzen

    Jezcruzen Well-Known Member

    My garden, or maybe I should say what was my garden, is a heartbreaking sight for me this morning. Most of the topsoil washed off and only rocks remain. I might be visiting the local farmer's market a lot more this year!

    Glad you rode it out OK Andi. I didn't notice the blue-green color, but I know what you mean.

    David, there are already a small group of us here in the region that stay in touch. In fact, we are planning a "meet and great" in late April. There are families in Campbell, Appomattox, Buckingham, and Amelia counties, and one family as far west as Covington. Send me a PM with your info. if you think you might like to throw in. You, too, Andi.

    Come on sunshine!
  7. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    Jez - I had some storms like that in my area and the rains pounded my back-door so bad that rain was filling my dining-area (tile-floor). I have since installed a very good storm-door that is covering the opening - any rain that might have been pushed through is being stopped by the storm-door.

    As an aside, I am thinking of building a "green-house" style covered porch over my doorways as well to create another level of protection for my door-ways - more for keeping the snows away from the doors as well as to create another level of wind-break for the doorways ..
  8. sidewinder

    sidewinder Well-Known Member

    Im originally from VA Beach, I know it can get a bit hairy during the REAL stormy weather there. Stay safe and strong. Let us know how you fare.
  9. Jezcruzen

    Jezcruzen Well-Known Member

    Chick's on the Beach. Ocean Eddie's. Mahi-Mahs. Beach Bully. The Jewish Mother. Rudee's.

    Don't you miss it? :wave:
  10. TimB

    TimB Member

    Glad you came through it as well as you did. Mother Nature tells us a lot of things if we listen. Sounds like y'all got all the rain up north of us. We were supposed to have heavy rain Friday and last night. Neither came to be- just a little drizzle about 10 last night.

  11. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

    Jez, "stuff" can be replaced, as you know. You two being safe is your main concern. Having said that, I am sorry for your place getting messed up. Sounds like VA really got a pounding.
  12. sidewinder

    sidewinder Well-Known Member

    HELL YEAH! Love's crab cakes, Pepper's bar n grill, The Chart House....grew up one block north of Rudy Inlet! Catching your own seafood for pennies, priceless.

    Glad everyone has made it through relatively unscathed. Just goes to show that preparedness is its own reward.
  13. Jezcruzen

    Jezcruzen Well-Known Member

    The oceanfront is like a second home. Plus, I was stationed in Norfolk for a few years and by wife and I lived in Ocean View for about a year. Spent some time down at Dam Neck, too. We go down every September for Boardwalk Weekend during Neptune. I like staying close to Rudee Inlet so I can walk down and fish early in the morning when those big "yellow belly" spot are in.
  14. sidewinder

    sidewinder Well-Known Member

    Ah, the Neptune Festival. Beads, coins and sand castles, among other diversions! Good times! Don't forget to get a bucket or two full o' blue claws while you're after the yellows, for the price of a raw drumstick and an hour of your time. L-I-V-I-N'!