This morning, at about 5:45, the first wave of a surprisingly severe February storm moved through. It was short in duration--only about thirty minutes for the storm itself, followed by another forty-five minutes to an hour of intermittent rain--but the damage it brought with it was immense.
In our neighborhood, there are scores of trees down; some of them were so large that their falling blocked a major roadway that runs alongside the subdivision. Power was out for tens of thousands of homes in the metro Atlanta area; some homes were totally destroyed by the winds, while many sustained roof damage.
It took me about fifteen minutes to get from my house to the store this morning; it normally takes about five. I did much better than Brett, though, because I knew a few back roads that he didn't; it took Brett about 45 minutes to cover half the distance that I had to cover because he got caught in the diverted trafic as residents tried to find a way around tree-blocked main roads.
Getting from the store to the FedEx Freight warehouse was much more demanding, because a tree had fallen on part of the interstate, throwing traffic flow into near-gridlock. We knew enough residential backroads to get to an interstate ramp below the fallen tree, and the rest of our drive was fairly uneventful--but it still threw us more than an hour behind schedule, all considered.
We were lucky personally; no trees down, no damage. Not like the summer of 2000, when a freak windstorm took out three trees--followed by another freak windstorm four months later that felled another six trees. I grieved for those trees; you don't realize how much you take tulip poplars and oaks and pines for granted until that first day after they fall, when you see bleak, unfiltered sky.