Sunday began fairly placidly. Things were a tad on the humid side at 4 am, but I wasn't particularly inclined to make any weather observations: I had gone outside to retrieve the newspaper, lest it become dampened, plastic bag notwithstanding, by the storms promised for the morning, and then promptly went back to bed, where I remained until eight-something.

After that, it was a fairly uneventful day, until I dialed over to the weather reports, and noted that some fair-sized storms were out to the northwest. Still no big deal: this is Oklahoma, and this is May, and I've been here for more than thirty of them.

It was a couple of minutes before four o'clock when the barrage began: a few hailstones, then a lot, then more than I'd ever heard in my entire life. I'd shut down the computer and was hiding out in the bedroom, occasionally glancing at the TV screen and fumbling with the volume control in a mostly-futile attempt to drown out the bang, Bang, BANG on the roof, against the windows, off the concrete, and everywhere else. If the local sirens went off, I never heard them, and those sumbitches are loud.

And then it was over. It was just before 4:15. A few minutes of rain, and then nothing.

I'm not sure how localized this phenomenon was. People I'd been following on Twitter had their own stories to tell, and some reported minor damage. Two or three reported damage not so minor. Photographers posted pictures from the storm. And this plaintive wail seemed to sum up the whole experience:

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH #okwx #hail #insurance #whywhywhy

I put up a perfunctory post, mostly for the benefit of people who were wondering how badly I was getting hammered. Short answer: not too much. There's still a pile of leaves on the roof: they were detached unceremoniously from the shrubbery, blown upward, and then abandoned once the wind died down. (As I type this, we have a dead, almost eerie calm.) The little revolving vent on the roof looks like hell, but then it's always looked like hell. And it's certainly not going to spin if there's no wind. A couple of gallons of water blew in under the back door and into the garage, but no big deal. And the driveway is full of the same sort of leaves sitting on the roof. I assume, once the rain starts up again, as it's supposed to several times this week, some of this mess will be swept away; at worst, I expect, I'll have to clean out the gutters. There are a couple of fence panels that need assistance, but they were in bad shape beforehand.

Still, this whole episode scared me a lot more than I'd expected it to. I really didn't think I was going to have my roof ripped off it's withstood rather a lot in the six years I've been here, and it's only twelve years old, and anyway insurance will cover anything beyond $1000 or so but something about the timing (Sunday afternoon, nominally a time of rest) and the sheer loudness of the stuff set me on edge. Things clearly could have been a lot worse. For some people, they were. I hadn't done anything to deserve being spared by this storm; it just happened. Maybe. As I get older, I find fewer and fewer reasons to believe that anything "just happens."

The Vent

  16 May 2010

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 Copyright © 2010 by Charles G. Hill