A very scary experience – part 2

by | Jan 30, 2018 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

(see part 1 here)

I walked through the house taking quick photos with my phone as I took in the mess and realised the power of what had passed through. Part of my brain couldn’t take it in and the other was making sure I had a record for insurance. There was glass covering the lounge suite and piano, in every room and in any cupboard that the wind had pulled open;
leaves and thatching straw were on top of the fridge, stuck on the walls, on the paintings, in the cupboards and in a small fridge that had been sucked open.

This couch was moved by the wind
The curtain comes from the rail above the sliding door, across the far side of the
A jacket that was on that fallen coat stand disappeared completely.
Some of the clothes that were on the airer were sucked through the doorway you can
see behind, through the house, and out into the garden at the back. 
If you zoom
in on the poster you will see its glass is broken.
Above it was a shard of
glass embedded in the wall like a spear.
Items that had been in the first room were now on the floor two rooms away. This fridge, in the laundry at the back of the house, had its door pulled open. 
The pot on the floor marked with an x came from the lounge! The sugar dispenser next to it came from the kitchen.
The door at the back of the laundry is a roller shutter like a garage door.
That was sucked out of its frame and bent upwards, a bicycle jammed underneath, half outside. Other objects were scattered on the ground just outside. 
The ceiling had been pulled down in the laundry. The many years of dust and animal droppings that fell from the roof space added to the mess and filth. 
Three of the lounge curtains had been plucked from the curtain rings and sucked into the next room. When I finally got around to re hanging them two weeks later I discovered half the hooks were missing. And yet I never found a single hook anywhere as I cleaned up. Where did they all go?
Over the next few days every time we walked around we looked for missing things. 200m away I found pieces of the plastic basket that had contained the clothes waiting for me to iron. A couple of the clothes I found. The others were probably caught up in a now dead tree that has since been dragged away. We picked up pieces of the outside plastic chairs up to three houses away in three different directions. Of three of the chairs we never found a sign at all.
During the five days of no power we either braaied or cooked on gas trying to use up the defrosted things that would spoil soonest. When my husband went to light the fire the first time he said “oh you know what else is missing, the lid from the braai? And now I realise that is what I saw lying somewhere strange.”
He walked about 100m and sure enough next to the uprooted stop sign at the start of our little road was the very heavy, flat, metal lid for our tractor wheel braai.
That picture had moved in the opposite direction from most things. There were a few instances like this where one can see that the air had been swirling. Like in the laundry where a line of cleaning material bottles that had been sitting on a shelf had been swept off ”backwards” and deposited into a laundry basket further along. Like a magic trick! 
That was also where the only actual rain water was found. It took quite a few days before we got to trying to sort out the laundry as it was so dirty and we didn’t have water for nearly three days. As I moved the remaining items from the shelves I found two little “swimming pools” on the top of ice cream containers I use to store things in.
Other than this the only other evidence of water was in things like the now dirty wavy pages of my bird book. Clearly there had been moisture but it been kept in
suspension until the swirling wind got caught up against the possibly cold metal roller door.
Over the next days and weeks as we surveyed the damage in the rest of the Estate that pattern was repeated. One house would stand untouched next to one with most of its roof tiles missing, roof trusses buckled, all the sliding doors and ceilings blown out. 
In one case in the area where the greatest damage occurred there is a huge tree uprooted and next to it an almost untouched house.
Our boat garage had it’s roof ripped off, the heavy duty hasp and padlock never to be seen again, but the garage next door has no damage at all! 
The houses immediately around us mostly lost a couple of roof tiles and had one or two broken windows. Ours, although not bad compared to others further away, got most of the damage in our little area.
Windows with hand size holes in them are one of the common consequences. They are usually on the back or side of the house as though it is where the wind was trying to escape.
The wind sucked up through this ceiling
After all the damage it had wreaked, nature did us a big favour afterwards. Most days the wind blew and clouds built up threatening another big storm, whilst roofs stood open and doors had no glass. But each time it moved away without a drop of rain. On the tenth day, when the emergency repairs were meant to have been finished, and the workmen finally allowed to leave for their Christmas holiday, the heavens opened with a beautiful downpour to feed the damaged trees.
I am hugely grateful for having insurance to cover most of the costs. If you are in any way involved in designing insurance policies I have an idea for you to make yours stand out from the crowd:
give an ex gratia payment of a few thousand rand when a big mess is left after an incident. It took us two weeks of cleaning to get the inside of the house back to normal. That’s labour (mine and my husband’s in this case), cleaning materials, water and electricity. And we are still finding bits of glass in strange places. Imagine what it must be like after a flood or a fire. My heart goes out to those who suffer that loss and damage. Here is a selection of photos my husband took over the couple of days immediately following the storm.
It is expected that it will take most of 2018 to rebuild. The power of nature vs man, and sadly, nature vs nature. 
Boundary wall flattened
Roofs ripped off the boat garages

Generally thatch roofs coped the best. However all the thatched umbrellas were ripped up.
Here is one dumped in the swimming pool.
The pattern of the torn out thatch shows the path the wind took
What was left after the boat garages collapsed
Fairly typical damage to the houses in-line with where I was sheltered
The space after trees were moved so I could drive my car out,
whilst trying to see through the shattered windscreen
A 3 seater couch wrapped around a tree!
“weathermasters” took the brunt of it – turning into giant sails
So many huge trees uprooted
Wildlife suffered as well


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