Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Storm Update

If you have even a vague familiarity of the news you know that the midwest, south and southeast has had the worst storm season of a generation over the past couple of weeks. We have been continuously under tornado warnings and watches, high wind warnings, flooding advisories and warnings, T-Storm warnings, large hail, extreme rainfall etc and frankly we are getting exhausted from dealing with it all. We have had road closures, both of our ponds have overflowed, the barn flooded which necessitated doing a water rescue of Maybelle our bottle baby calf and Bandit who got caught on a floating board and paniced (apparently he doesnt swim too well). So far we have had some of our road wash out, we lost some hay bales, and we are soggy but there are people far worse off around here than us. Our biggest concern is the pond in back of Judys mobile home as the water is all the way to the top of the dam and during a particularly bad 5 hour downpour it overflowed over one side which is what flooded the barn. We almost had it completely dewatered with the trash pump when the deluge came and we had to rescue Bandit and the calf and abandon ship so to speak. So far the dam is holding well but its very nerve wracking. This is so far a record breaking storm and more to come so we can only hope for the best.

We had a small tornado to the west of us that was reported heading our way (I am an NOAA storm spotter and have a VHF radio to call in on and listen to the traffic) and a wall cloud came righ at us and then passed a bit to the south with this tail coming over the back pasture. There was real slow rotation and it never developed but it was actually kind of awe inspiring to see.

It rained hard for several days but we had almost 6 inches in about 5 hours and our happy little upper pond filled up and then got scary as it approached the top of the dam but it gently overflowed on the far side of this shot and ran down the new pasture we just got and then through the barnyard to the lower pond and some went into the barn. 
Once it came over the side of the pond we had a small river that lasted for a couple hours. It ended up in the lower pond that also overflowed through the key way in a waterfall and out into the drainage ditch so it all worked as it was supposed to but its the first time we have had to test it.

A lot of water ended up getting into the milking parlor of the dairy barn where Maybelle had her pen and at the time we were working the trash pump to remove some water that the floor drains couldnt keep up with...then the water kept rising and Maybelle's pen flooded and we carried her up to the new pole barn.

Poor Maybelle was so scared she let me just carry her to the back of the pickup and we drove up and got her situated for about 24 hours. She actually liked the pole barn and was playing and made a nice bed for herself. My mistake was that I had two 2"x8" pressure treated boards laying in a corner and thats where she decided to leave her waste...only there on the boards.

All told we got about 2 1/2 feet of water in the barn but after a few hours the floor drains had managed to drain it all out. We lost about 10 square bales of hay but I already had the good wood stacked high and I will just burn the water damaged lumber in the outside wood boiler next winter. It could have been worse thats for sure.

This is from the far side of the pod looking towards the dam on the left hand side. Nornally you would see the dam from this vantage point. Luckily we have cedars growing all along the dam and it is robust so I think we will be okay...I just dont like that much water in the pond.

The horses and our weaned calves just stayed in the back pasture and woodlot and seemed to enjoy themselves.

This view from our middle pasture looking towards the new pole barn shows how much the pasture loves the rain. Our fescue and clover crop is doing nicely and of course the animals love it.

Its come down a bit today even with the extra rain we had and we have 2 days of no rain until more storms this weekend...we are hoping it comes down quite a bit.

And finally, to the left where those trees are flooded is where we planned to put our picnic table and BBQ...we will now change that plan to account for this unprecendented flood stage we had never thought would happen.

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