Apr 30, 2011

Stormy Weather

The NOAA Prediction Map
On Wednesday, the National Weather Service warned that conditions were perfect for an extraordinary outbreak of tornadoes in the southeast. I saw the prediction map and realized that we were near the northern edge of the "highest risk" zone. I thought, "I'm glad we're not in the middle of that red zone. Since we're near the edge it's probably no big deal."

By about 2:00 PM it was obviously a bad weather day. Several tornadoes had touched down to the south and west of Huntsville, and Huntsville had been under a tornado watch or tornado warning much of the afternoon. I decided to go home and drove through several torrential downpours on the way there. Mary Ann was still in the gift shop and had a few die-hard customers. At around 5:00, she closed the shop and came in the house. We were glued to the TV, watching incredible live reports of literally dozens of tornadoes. It was unreal. And many were too close for comfort.

The locations of identified tornadoes from Wednesday's outbreak.
Our house is marked by the gold star on the upper part of the map.
At about 6:30, there was a report of one headed our way, so we went to our usual safe area (ha, ha) in the basement and hunkered down. At that point, we still had electricity. We have a battery powered radio and continued to listen to the local TV channel's audio. The wind and rain noises were awesome. Then the lights went out and we heard a crunching sound as a neighbor's large oak fell across the property line and came to rest against one end of our house.

Immediately, I thought the worst. I pictured a gaping hole in the roof and water pouring into the attic, splintered rafters and joists extending at all angles, drenched furnishings. Fortunately, I was mostly wrong.

As soon as the tornado danger had passed (it went well to the south of us) I got out our generator and got power run to our basement sump pump. Mary Ann has a lot of off-season inventory stored there and I wanted to prevent water damage. Then, we got a chance to survey our damage. It appeared that the tree mostly damaged the edge of the roof, crushing some rafter tails and obliterating some soffit, fascia, and gutters.

The scene that greeted us when we went outside after the storm had left
The power was out for about a day. In the meantime, I had a local tree man (and fortunately for us, a good friend) come over and cut enough of the tree to get the big parts off the house. That enabled the utility company to string new lines to the house and my shop. So by late Thursday night, we had lights, freezer power, air conditioning, stove and all!

We have counted our blessings over and over. As of yesterday, the death toll from this amazing storm system had grown to over 300. The families of those victims and the folks who have lost absolutely everything are the ones who need our prayers and help.

Apr 17, 2011

Springtime 2011...

Things are really coming to life around the Ebabe's place.  We both love this time of year.

Apr 10, 2011

Off to a Great Start...

Emily Price at Bat
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the first game of the season for the Ebabe's softball team.  Mary Ann's gift shop sponsors this hard-working team of little girls. The coaches, Jason Jones and Stacey Price, put in countless hours working with the kids.  Their hard work has resulted in two consecutive league championships.

At batting practice before the game, the team showed off their new uniforms and socks!

Everybody was on pins and needles yesterday before the game.  They won it beautifully, with a score of 20-1.  Bravo!