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I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down

June 15, 2010

OK.  So even my Mother knows about the winds along the Turnagain Arm.  She knows about them not because  she and I have ever discussed them, but because she follows the USA Today type news and weather of places in which she knows people.   My point being that the winds of the Turnagain Arm are known to folks as far away as the East Coast (at least to USA Today reading folks).  A typical weather forecast in the Anchorage Bowl will 7 times out of 10 mention the winds along Turnagain and the Hillside and you’ll remember that Dora and I are parked up on the Hillside above the Turnagain Arm. 

Listening with half an ear, I seem to remember the local weather forecast yesterday predicting a storm with high winds along Turnagain Arm and the upper elevations, which now includes me.   I think I vaguely remember hearing something about the possibility of winds gusting to 50-60 mph, but really didn’t give it much thought.  I mean, I’m not used to living up here, just hearing about the winds up here and I don’t think I put two and two together until I was in the middle of an F-5.  Not really an F-5, but those of you who have seen the movie, Twister, will get the joke.    So now that I’ve set the stage, I’ll get on with the story. 

While trying to take the dogs out for a walk around the school before heading to bed, I noticed the winds that had been, well, just windy last time I was outside, had picked up substantially.  My first clue to this was the fact that one of the gusts almost knocked me off my feet.  I felt like I was in one of those extreme Chicago street scenes they show on TV with everyone’s umbrellas turning inside out etc.  No wonder Dora had been rocking.  Guess I’ll gather up my poor geranium planter that had blown across the parking lot along with a folding chair and outdoor area rug.  By the way, has anyone seen my table top grill or the table on which it sat for that matter?  Just kidding about the table and grill.  I had the forethought to put them away earlier, but who knows why I didn’t put everything away while I was at it?

After gathering up my outdoor gear and dogs, I made it back inside and pulled the door shut with two hands (literally)  in an effort to keep it from whipping off into the night Wizard of Oz style.   Safely inside, I proceeded to bed as normal, but could hardly concentrate on my book for all the wind buffeting my house.  Of course this made me start thinking about how much wind would it take to actually flip Dora over or even make her move.  Well, since I didn’t know and even if I did know, I didn’t know what to do about it, I thought it a wise move to try to pretend like neither scenario was even a remote possibility. 

Time went by, but I still could not really read or sleep due to the winds outside.  I began picturing mobile home parks after a tornado and thinking about all the money I just spent having one of the awnings reattached to the house and thought maybe I should bring the slides in so the canopies covering them wouldn’t get torn.  I was also wondering if the extra surface area the slides provided would give the wind that extra bit of purchase it needed to have an adverse affect on Dora.   After getting tired of wondering about this, I finally got up and brought both slides in  thinking this would save the canopies and would make us all the more aerodynamic and therefore less likely to be a participant in any surprise and unwanted house relocations.

Back in bed with the winds still howling and gusting high enough to keep me nervous, I started wondering if I should get up and fill all my tanks with water.  Because you know, a gallon of water weighs about 8 lbs, I could add quite a bit of weight with hopes that it would help keep me anchored.  I decided this was silly and finally fell into an on again off again sleep which would last the night.

A friend called me today to ask how I fared during the storm.  Turns out she had been thinking of Dora and me up here in this wide open area with winds she felt would have gusted up to 70-80 mph.   So, my question is, how much wind would it take to make Dora roll over and play dead?  I know her GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) is 22,000 lbs.  This means that fully loaded with full tanks, stuff, people etc, Dora should not weigh more than that, but I don’t know how much she weighs now nor how to determine how much wind it would take to flip her.  I think I’ve decided that unless I’m in a tornado or hurricane, I’ll be fine.  Who knows if this is true or not, but it makes me feel better to think it.  And one of the great things about living in a home on wheels is that if I find myself in an area where a tornado or hurricane is predicted, I can simply start the engine and make a quick get away.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 17, 2010 2:17 pm

    Loved the read–even as I live down the hill a few miles, I still was holding my breath until I got to the end and knew you all were safe—living down the hill and next to the bluff, yes, we get frightful winds too. I realy had not thought of what it might be like to be in Dora up there–next time our winds pick up I WILL be thinking of you all up there! Safe sailing!

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