Monday, November 7, 2005

Wind damage in Fort Wayne

Click on the photos to see them larger.

Some concerned relatives heard about tornadoes in Indiana and called us to make sure we're OK. And we are. The tornadoes ravaged Evansville, which is at the opposite corner of the state, about a 7-hour drive away.

Instead, Fort Wayne received 60-mph winds Sunday morning. About 24,000 people lost power locally. And many trees were knocked down.

Including the one in the backyard of our next-door neighbor to the west. His tree is now taking up most of our backyard.

Above is the scene that greeted us Sunday morning from our bathroom window. Our neighbor's three-stories-high maple was shorn off during the winds and landed mostly in our backyards, but not before gouging a hole in the corner of his two-story garage.

At right is the tree now. You can see where the uppermost part of the tree was stripped off, like string cheese.

As far as anyone knew, the tree was completely healthy. We had a similar, but much larger, tree in our own backyard that we had taken down a few years ago because its roots were digging into our sewer line. I can only imagine was a mess we'd have if that tree would have been knocked over, too. It was enormous.

Neither house was damaged at all on Sunday, and for that we're thankful. But I feared that everything under the tree in our backyard was decimated.

For example, see the white boards in the photo to the right? Those used to be connected to one another.

Micah, Caleb and I constructed, painted and installed two grape arbors in the backyard, and Mary was training some grapevines to climb them.

So, now we're pretty sure this one will have to be replaced. (We found out later that we may be able to repair the second one.)

Also, a chain-link fence separates the properties, and a couple of lengths were smashed to the ground.

But as I looked around yesterday, we began to see that maybe damage was not as bad as we feared.

Our shed, pictured at the top of this post, was also hit by the trunk of the tree. But it seems to have received only superficial damage to a shingle or two.

But this was heart-breaking, at least at first.

Notice the two kinds of leaves in the photo. The huge maple tree crashed down around and on our little cherry tree. The smaller oval-shaped leaves are on the cherry tree.

We had planted the montmorency cherry tree a few years ago, and it was finally big enough this year to give us enough fruit for a pie. And so when I saw this, I thought that no way would this little tree survive.

But Micah, Caleb and I went to work on the yard later in the day, and with a couple of hours of work, we were able to save at least two-thirds of the cherry tree's branches. That's very good news, for that gives the tree a good chance of survival.

Someone took this photo just to prove that I did not force the boys to do all the work.

Here's a picture of what the yard looked like after we cleared some fallen branches from around the cherry tree, which is at the far left of the photo.

So today, it's more yard work for all of us.


mtk said...

Ouch. Jon, I wish I lived nearer ... I'd bring my chainsaw over and we'd get those downed limbs out of there in an hour or so. We weren't quite as hit by the winds in Ann Arbor, but we certainly have some limbs down as well.

Mary Swerens, wife of Jon said...

Um, these are more than just some limbs. It is 2/3 of a 3-story tall tree. So bring that chain saw on over! I am sure it will take a few more days to get this done, so there is plenty to go around. :)

Victor Locke said...


Sorry you were singled out by mother nature. I wish you the best and hope all soon returns to normal for yourself, and all of Indiana, especially the folks near Evansville, though I'm sure it will take years, if not generations to recover from their pain.

Victor Locke