Straight Line Winds
A few weeks ago, we had a big storm hit our neck of the woods. My husband and I woke up in the middle of the night to the sirens going off. We could hear the wind hollering and tried to figure out what was going on around us. As we looked out the window, we could see broken limbs all over in our lawn, so we woke the kids and headed to our basement until we could figure out what sort of danger we were in. I’m not sure whose idea it was the make the sirens for straight line winds be the same as the tornado siren. I just hope they got up disoriented, too, and cursed themselves for not sounded two types of alarms.
As we sat in our basement and looked on our phones for radar and warnings, we could see that we weren’t in any danger. We sent our kids back to bed. I have two teenage boys and a ten year old daughter. I’m sure you can imagine just how happy this turn of events made them.
We didn’t get much sleep that night. When I woke, I looked out the window at the golf course and saw lots of damage. I sent a text to my sister telling her to be prepared. She woke up her children as did I. Waking up teenagers in the early morning to pick up limbs goes over really well in both of our houses.
My dad always says that running a golf course is kind of like glorified farming. When the chips are down, family kicks in to help. The golf course had been preparing all week for two large charity events that were going to be taking place on Wednesday and Thursday. The storm hit on Monday night, so that left us with basically a day and half to get the golf course back in good condition.
We had sticks and small twigs completely covering all of our greens and littering our fairways.
The first order of business was to get the greens all blown off from debris, so that we could get them mowed.
Once they were blown off, then we had to blow off the fairways, too. This took a majority of the morning. We only have two large blowers, so our maintenance crew worked diligently to get things looking good. While they were doing their normal maintenance, I had called in as many troops as I could conjure up to pick up large branches and debris.
We had about thirty trees with some severe damage.
All in all, we only lost about five trees completely. One tree was near number ten tee. This was a tree that my dad had planted when I was a small child. He had taken it from my Grammy’s back yard where she lived in Denison, Iowa. My Grammy (my mom’s mom) passed away when I was six. It’s funny how some trees have a special meaning.
My son thought it was pretty cool and asked to pose.
He wanted to look like he was casually hanging sideways.
The whole family spent all day working to get the course back in order.
As cousins will do, they made sure to have some fun.
The debris was piled up, so that we could burn it.
Here are my nephews putting in their time.
I dropped my kids off and told them to pick up all of the debris in a fairway. They did a good job!
I was reminded of other times in the golf course’s history when we have been hit with straight line winds. The worst time happened in the early nineties when our outside bathrooms got blown off of their foundation. When I was a kid, I used to help my mom pile up the sticks and then she’d have me sit on top of the pile to prevent them from falling out of the utility cart.
You had better bet that I followed suit and had my own children sit on the stick pile.
Carrying on family traditions!
Even our fence that had recently been stained got beat up.
By the end of the day, my carpenter had it completely repaired.
At lunch time, my heart was very warmed by the shear number of family members and staff who had come to help us get the golf course back in order. There were nearly twenty of us who had put in a very long day’s worth of work to get the course back into shape.
Of course, everyone’s main concern was my dad. The tree man. I checked in with him and he said he didn’t shed a tear. That was a good sign. He pulled out his chain saw and got to work cutting out all of the many limbs that were hanging from trees around the course.
My brother followed him around removing the branches my dad cut down.
Our outside crew helped to drag in all of the biggest of the downed branches.
By the end of the day, we were a completely different golf course. My sister continued to work for the next week fine tuning all of the areas that were damaged.
I think the best part of the entire storm was that the winds were able to topple trees and branches, but the tulle left from the wedding over the weekend remained in tact.
This storm happened about a month ago, so you can’t really see any of this damage now. I can’t say enough good things about my family and crew who really helped to pull us through a tough situation.