Friday Night Microburst

(Sunday, 13 July 2008) by Michele Cozzens

onesnap.jpgGiven the seemingly unending reports of inclement weather this summer, if a hurricane-force wind momentarily bursts through our property, takes out a few trees, rips apart furniture, boats, docks and boathouses, well so be it. It could have been a lot worse. The lake could have drained . . . or the tree that fell upon one of our cabins could have hurt someone or caused structural damage. These things didn’t happen. What did happen around 11:30 p.m. on July 11 is known as a “microburst.” And what happened on Saturday, July 12 (in addition to our usual full resort turnover) was a day filled with chainsaws, bobcats and wonderful volunteers helping to clean up the mess.

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A microburst is a strong downdraft, which is less than 2.5 miles in diameter. It’s a localized column of sinking air that produces both divergent and straight-line winds at the surface, or when the draft comes into contact with the ground. How it differs from a tornado is that it has divergent winds rather than convergent. Speeds can be from 60 to 120 m.p.h. I don't know the rate of speed, but when the force hit, it awoke me from a deep sleep.

 

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Assessing the damage it’s clear this wasn’t a traveling wind. It hit one area and that’s where all the damage occurred. The area: our lakefront. We’ve managed to retrieve all the boats out of the forest, but the playground structure is still buried among the trees and I think we located the slide. Shattered dock pieces will need to be replaced and one section of our upturned main dock (the section with the bench near the American flag) was salvageable. Both the American flag and the Wisconsin flag are history. Our crew removed the trees that fell upon the boathouse, but we’ve been unable to get inside and see if the equipment survived. The inner tubes are most likely deflated but I don’t know about my fancy water-ski. Good thing I already broke it out once this summer.

 

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The most disappointing loss is the two red pines flanking the fish-cleaning house. They lay like two wooden soldiers, parallel to the ground with their roots and turf exposed. And right on the shore, the small cluster of birch trees (the backdrop to many of my jewelry photos of Willow) are uprooted as well. I wonder if we can pull them back into place?

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We’re very grateful to those who came by to help (our neighbors Bryan and Kelly) and to some of our guests who stayed after checking-out of their cabins to pick up debris, the Wilson, Layer and Renn families.

Now I know about what Friday morning's ominous orange sky was warning.

Better get back to work. 

 

 

 

 

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