Sitting here in the lodge I work at two days after a huge violent storm ripped through my town, I am bored due to there being no power, cell phone signal or working telephone lines. We are powerless and out of communication – but I am thankful to be alive.
The storm hit just after 7pm on 7 february 2013, and it started out as just a feint rumble in the distance. There was no warning of what it was that was coming our way. We live on a farm about 4 km away from the main road in between two mountains and we are pretty isolated from the rest of the population here.
Only minutes after the first rumble, pandemonium broke loose. The wind howled with incredible power and came from all directions, the trees were being tugged from one direction to the next, continuously and relentlessly. Hail and rain were hurled across the landscape by the winds, and lightning lit our world continuously with strobe-like flashes as if it was daylight. There was a strike at least every half-second, all around us, thunder rolling and rumbling down from the mountains and fields around our home. The sound of very strike competed with the howling gale, sounding like bombs as the thunder exploded above us.
As far as I could tell it lasted at least an hour and a half, during which time the power failed, although it felt like a lifetime as we scurried from one end of the house to the other, protecting furniture and sundries from leaks caused by the wind forcing the rain in under the roof.
Then, just as suddenly as it came, it was over – and in the silence the only evidence we could see in the dark of its monstrous presence was a large branch from a tree that just missed the roof of our front porch. The strobe-like lightning faded into the distance, still bombarding the trust area, and pools and rivers of water on the ground outside – and on our lounge floor – remained.
Thinking it was just another terrifying big storm (we get one every 3 or 4 years here) and unable to see the true devastation it had caused in the dark of the night, we slept soundly.
The next morning we awoke with power and believed all was well in our part of the world – until we stepped outside. Huge branches lay scattered, literally twisted off trees, and whole trees lay uprooted across roads – and everywhere looked like dead bodies after a violent battle. Power lines, broken and dead, lay on the earth beneath limbs of trees. Tarred roads were congested, blocked and narrowed by debris, only having spaced for small cars. Buses were stuck. Driving to work was more of an obstacle-course than just a morning routine trip. We wondered open-mouthed at the absolute devastation all around.
At the lodge I work at, huge parts of gigantic old trees had been twisted off their trunks by the wind, and the 300 meter long dirt track to the lodge from the main road was filled from end to end with broken branches from the old jacaranda trees lining the road. I had to leave the car and negotiate continue on foot to get to the lodge, as there was no other way to bypass them. As I approached the gate, I saw a monstrous mass of tree blocking all entry and exit from the lodge. This broken limb was practically half of the tree, one of many ripped from local trees by the gale and deposited violently on the ground. Luckily no structural damage occurred to the lodge itself.
At work, I heard that at least one local resident was killed as a tree fell on his shack, killing him instantly. Later in the day when all the debris on our road had been cleared by a team of 10 workers and a very skilled man with a chainsaw, we went to investigate if the rumors of a local pub being flattened were true. They were!
The destruction was beyond what I had imagined. There was nothing left of it at all, but a mound of rubble. Whole ancient mango trees had fallen on the pub in the storm. That all inside had escaped with little more than minor cuts and bruises is beyond me. The survivors retold the spell-binding tale of what they had gone through on the night of The Storm.
They related how they had become trapped under the roof and how they escaped one part of the old building only to be trapped in the kitchen, where they should have been safe, only to have another huge old tree fall on that as well, pushed over by the gale, as it fell right through the kitchen wall and crushed the roof, trapping them until help came.
I sit here in my office now, bored due to no power, cell signal or telephone line, but I am thankful I got to experience the raw unhindered force of nature, thankful that this storm spared our home and respective workplaces – and that I lived to tell the tale.
This is the tale I wished to share with you all, even if it’s not VC related, I am a Vampyre and I was there. I felt a pressing need to share this exciting and terrible tale with everyone.
Copyright: Kay Valkir Noctem.