The great wind of January 18, 2005

Minstrels are already penning ballads to memorialize this event, to pass it on from generation to generation.

It actually started several days earier, when there were some exceptionally fierce winds at night. The sound of the wind was enough to wake everyone up - some to rejoice in the exhibition of the raw power of Mother Nature, others to consider anxiously the possible consequence of a large tree falling on the house. I have never seen whole trees sway the way I saw them these nights, particularly when the leaves are gone and the wind can't get as good a purchase on them. But the wind died down by daybreak and we returned to the somewhat tropical weather we have been having, with temperatures as high as 60 degrees.

On Wednesday, however, it was a different matter. After some more major gusts during the night, the wind intensified. It howled and roared; just like that scene in Twister, strange objects flew through the air - cows, cars, entire buildings (note: some exaggeration for dramatic effect.) Actually, that morning had been recycling day and many people had put out their soda cans and old milk jugs. These were easy picking for the wind, and they spent the whole day surveying Larchmont from the air or rolling around the streets. In addition, as you might expect, large amounts of tree debris covered the roads and lawns. Mostly this was twigs with the occasional small branches, but there were a number of major limbs and whole trees down. In addition, wires were all over the place. The end result was that Larchmont became a labyrinth in which you were always unexpectedly running into streets closed by massive trees or a tangle of power lines.

I have pinched some pictures of downed trees from the Larchmont Gazette, honored recent recipient of the Sunny award from LMCTV.

Manor Park tree lost: Photo by Karin Sherman.

Prospect Avenue at Woodbine was closed when this large tree was ripped from its roots. Photo by Paula Eisenberg.

John Moriarty surveys the damage left by two trees toppling on a house at the corner of Walnut and Ocean Avenues in Larchmont Manor.

A stand of evergreens landed on the roof of a home at the corner of Beach and Willow Avenues.

Trees were already toppling on Saturday, January 14, including one at Ervilla Drive. Photo by Mark Grossman, who reported, "Tree fell during wind storm last night about 11:10 pm" damaging the neighbor's roof and window. "Quite a sight."

Giant trees came down in Manor Park, but missed the gazebos and other structures. Photo by Karin Sherman.

Taking the girls to school in the morning, I stopped at Weaver and Palmer to make a left turn. Suddenly, there was a huge crash and flash of light. Toni nearly jumped out of her skin. Lightning, I conjectured? But no - it was the power line sparking. All in all, I think there were something like 30,000 people in Westchester without power. Paradoxically, we not only had power, but the phone line, which had been out of order, began to work again. How about that?!

Now the sun is shining and the wind calm. It is still unseasonably warm and apparently going to remain so for the next several days. But we no longer take such things for granted and are constantly looking over our shoulder in case we have a return of the Great Wind of 2006.

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