Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Big Storm

Few folks in Hamilton Lakes will forget the Thursday morning five years ago when the Big Storm hit. I was at work that morning, and the unexpected thunderstorm that came through mid-morning was as bad as I have ever seen. From my office, I couldn't see I-40 fifty yards away. When I heard that a tornado had touched down in Guilford College, I decided to go home and check for damage there.

There was no storm damage noticable until I got to Dolley Madison Road on Friendly Ave. There began a trail of downed limbs and tree-tops. At Henderson Road, where I normally turn, there was a huge tree across the road.

Tree blocking Henderson Road

Lakewood and Plummer Drives, the next two streets, were also blocked with large trees. I was able to get to my house via the eastern branch of Lakewood and Farrar, though Farrar was blocked between Lakewood and Henderson.

Tree blocking Lakewood

Luckily we had no damage to the house, just a number of limbs in the yard and streets around the house. Almost unbelievably, the only property damage in the immediate neighborhood was to two houses and one car.

Henderson Road house damage

Lakewood Drive house damage

Campbell's car

Neighbors who were home at the time said the storm lasted only a minute of two, but that time was unforgetable.

I stayed home the rest of the day to help around the neighborhood (OK, mostly to watch clean-up efforts and visit with neighbors.) There was one fellow who stopped by in a panel-truck full of chainsaws and worked for many hours clearing the tree across Henderson Road so folks could get to their driveways and houses. When he finished, he declined any money for his efforts. He said he was a Stihl chainsaw factory representative who just happened to be in the area when the storm hit, and he wanted to help. He did suggest, however, that if anyone needed a chainsaw, Stihl made good ones. I didn't need one then, but when my McCullough died a couple of years later, I replaced it with a Stihl. I don't know how good their chainsaws are, but their people are top-notch.

We were without power until Sunday evening, conviently just about the time the hot water ran out of the heater and the ice-maker got empty, and with the warm weather, "camping out" was not a problem. With no TV, we did miss any news about the Big Storm beyond the coverage in the News & Record so we don't know how widely the storm was reported. However, we do know folks in this neighborhood won't soon forget it.

Some additional photos:

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