Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm over stormwatching on the coast

I was a blogger no-show this weekend because The Man and I were out of town. We joined his parents Friday afternoon at Gleneden Beach for a short getaway. The weekend included shopping, good food, some games, and lots of reading. We stayed in some friends' beach house that I estimate was built and forgotten in about 1970 (this will come into play later). It was cozy and slightly warm, a nice alternative to the hissing surf less than fifty yards away (twenty at high tide). The Man and I went a short distance on the beach once, though we didn't venture beyond some packed sand. We had a nice time overall and are thankful we had the time with his family.

EXCEPT for last night. I'd seen the weather report right before we left. The weather man was predicting a slight disturbance moving through late Saturday night. Maybe I was paying attention to the forecast for the valley, or maybe I got interrupted... whatever the case, I missed the forecast for gale-force winds, upside-down rain, and panic attacks.

About 10pm Saturday night, The Man and I decided to go to bed. We snuggled to keep warm in the drafty bedroom, and I think I fell asleep for a half-hour or so. About 11:30 or 12:00, I could hear some heavy rain pattering on the windows. I am a native Oregonian: rain on the window makes a soothing, wonderful, awesome noise. After listening to the "tap, tap, tap" of rain, I started hearing a louder popping noise. It always corresponded to the wind, "whrrrrrrr WHRRRRRR! pop! pop! pop! WRSHHHHH! pop-pop-pop-pop! POP!" The noise sounded like it was coming from the window at first, like a branch was hitting the glass panes, but once I sat up, I realized the noise was coming from overhead. I layed back down and tried to snuggle, to pull the blankets over my head, but the wind wouldn't let up. About 12:30, after a solid half-hour of creaking and popping noises echoing throughout the beach house, I awoke--yes, awoke--my sleeping husband to inform him that I was thoroughly dissatisfied with our sleeping arrangements. Musty lumpy bed is one thing, intermittent skylight another.

He held my hand as we peered out the windows to confirm that there wasn't an offending branch scratching the siding or windows. We couldn't really see outside at all with it being dark and trees moving every which way. I pulled him out into the front room to look out the huge plate glass windows. We moved our blankets out of the noisy bedroom to the couch where I attempted to even close my eyes. The wind screamed down the fireplace, howled through the stove vent, and set the roof to popping every second for at least two hours. The tide had gone out, and the surf didn't look much heavier than usual, but the wind pushed so hard on the glass windows that they bowed and domed, bowed and domed. Exhasperated, exhausted, suffering with a migraine, and terribly fed up with the whole situation, I reasoned that if I was going to die, I was going to die in bed. We moved all of our blankets back to the bedroom where my husband tried to calm me down over the roaring storm.

I've never been through a hurricane or tornado, though I've seen, heard, and even felt a couple good wind storms. A 60-mile-per-hour gust up the valley gets stopped by trees, buildings, hills, and all sorts of little things. A gust that big on the coast has nothing in its way. I checked NOAA, and KATU confirmed, the biggest gusts at Gleneden Beach last night were over 80-miles-per-hour.

We never did lose the roof. Between prayers, general pleading for my life, and my husband trying to get me to go to sleep, I was up until 2:30am. The storm gave one final kick around 4:00am, and I slept then until about 7:00am. It was a very, very long night.

I don't know how people who live on the coast can stand windstorms, but I am officially over stormwatching on the coast.


MissKris said...

Ooooooooooohhh...I LOVE windstorms at the beach! I grew up near the beach and lived thru the Columbus Day storm in 1962 only 10 miles inland. We had blankets over our big plate glass windows in case they blew in and the entire family slept on the dining room and living room floors in sleeping bags and Army dad was a National Guardsman back then. What an adventure!!!! Didn't scare me at all.

The Guy Who Writes This said...

They aren't pleasant. We've lost all our trees to them and I constantly have to make roof repairs.

Skunk said...

Oh goodness! You did have quite a weekend! Hey, at least you got to have someone there to comfort you. That's one of the many great things about marriage--you have a comfort buddy anytime you need it. :)

Lockwood said...

Actually, it was pretty windy here in Corvallis, too. I didn't look at the clock when the howling woke me up, but I laid there for maybe half an hour, feeling my apartment building shivering.

The cat doesn't like storms, and generally takes refuge and comfort on my hip, which is sweet.

I heard the peak gust recorded was 98, I think at Waldport. Eep!