Okay - so it's been a week since the hail storm happened, but it has also been an interesting week of insurance adjusters and repair people and clean-up.
The evening news said there were a few storms well to the north, but they were moving towards us very slowly. Maybe something to watch, but not to worry about. Around eight o’clock, the wife says she is going off to the store.
It started like any other thunderstorm - strong winds and lashing rain. It seems that thunderstorms coming in from the north has collided with thunderstorms that had formed in Mexico and come north. They collided right over our heads. The first bit of hail was interesting - we have a metal roof and the noise level was awesome. For the fun of it, I went out into the carport to watch, but the hail got heavier and the noise level caused me to stick my fingers in my ears.
I went back inside and watched the storm through a front window looking through the carport.
Something hit me in the back of the leg. With furrowed eyebrows, I looked around, but saw nothing. Then something hit my leg again - and I saw the culprit. It was a piece of hail. I had been looking through an open window, but the screen was intact, so I looked behind.
Two - count ‘em - two windows had been blown out. Rain, wind and hail were pounding the furniture in the living room. I wanted to scoop out the hail before it melted and soaked the rug, but when I tried to scoop it up, found there was a lot of glass mixed in. The windows are (were?) double-paned, so there was a lot of shards. Okay - it seemed like the best thing to do would be to keep more hail from coming in, so I found two old blankets the cats usually sleep on (the cats were under the bed) and tried to hold them up against the window.
Yeah right. That blanket-holding stuff was analogous to holding the tide back with your hands.
And, by the way - just where was the wife?
I dug out my cell phone and found her text - she was at her mother’s house. She needed to be there to calm her mother and besides - there was no way for her to get home. The carport roof at her mother’s had collapsed on our car. So - I was left to deal with the storm on my own.
In your mind's eye, can you conjure an image of me trying to hold two flapping blankets against the window while I try to keep an eye on the television. The weather guy was saying that the pink-colored area on the radar was the hail-filled core of the storm, which had already registered 75 mph winds at the airport.
And the storm just sat there - it didn’t move, but continued to dump huge amounts of hail on the central part of McAllen. As my age-depleted arm muscles struggled to keep the blankets up, I saw the accumulation of hail was about 3-5 inches deep under the windows. Hmmm - didn’t seem like I was accomplishing much.
The reports said the storm stalled over the top of McAllen for about an hour. I believe it. If the storm had moved on like most thunderstorms move, we would have had some damage, but probably not as much as we did.
When things finally settled down, I took this picture with my cell phone. What you can’t see is the glass on the floor - and on the sofa - and on the sewing machine - and on the CD case - and on the TV. Knowing the cats would be curious, I locked them in the bedroom before they came out and got glass imbedded in their paws.
(Be sure to click on the photos to see a larger version. I used my cell phone for all of these - too lazy to drag out my big gear.)
I had walked outside at night after the storm passed and noticed little bits of white plastic on the front lawn. I didn’t want to walk up the street simply because it was covered completely with hail. In the back of the storage shed was a snow-drift about three feet high - except of course, it was hail, not snow. There was a similar drift next to the carport.
I stayed up until 2:30 (or so) just to be sure the storms had finally passed. Dawn brought my wife back - and a chance to check out the damage.
Now I knew what the white pieces of “plastic” were during the night - they were bits of siding. The hail just ripped it apart - as it did to the north side of every other home in our park. Notice the white stuff on the ground - that is hail, even though the photo was taken about ten hours after the storm lifted.
A look at the mother-in-law’s house - with our car still in the carport - showed that the roof had not toppled onto our car after all. We were able to drive it out, but the rear of the car had been facing the north and sustained considerable hail damage.
But - nobody was hurt. Nobody died. We have insurance. We are thankful.
When Ái Nhân came home for the weekend, she was a great help as we cleaned up inside and out.
And with her present while we worked, I couldn’t help but remember the floods I had seen when we lived in Việt Nam.
We seldom have floods in Texas - it floods regularly in Huế. Nobody was hurt in our storm - someone almost always loses their life during floods in Việt Nam. We have insurance - only a few wealthy people have insurance in Việt Nam.
We are blessed.