A Bit Battered, Perhaps, but It’s Not Outer Mongolia
Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

The New Year has started out with a bang, as Mother Nature decided to celebrate the occasion with the wildest storm in several years. I was reading the Santa Rosa paper this morning about someone who said they were going to file a complaint with PG&E because their power was out in their neighborhood longer than the rest of the surrounding area. She says, “We’re in town. It’s not like we’re in Outer Mongolia.”

At least she had the choice of walking a few blocks to electricity. That wasn’t a choice for the entire Mendocino Coast, lovingly known as “Outer Mongolia”, as we lost power last Friday morning. At my house, we didn’t get our power back until last night — 4 days and 4 nights of no power, and howling winds, and driving rains. I recorded 4 inches of rain in my gauge. During the worst of it, the highways into the area were blocked by large trees. Of course, many of the roads on the coast were blocked, as well, so the authorities told everyone to stay put as much as possible.

Our driveway was blocked when 2 trees went down.

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Our driveway was blocked when 2 trees went down.
Unusual hail on deck.
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Unusual hail on deck.
We didn’t have much choice at our house. The big winds came early Friday morning, and knocked 2 trees down across our driveway. Somewhere in there, we got a bunch of hail that actually covered the ground.

The first week of 2008 has been a wild one. It started out with gorgeous weather, with wild turkeys and deer parading around everywhere in the sun. And then the bank of 3 storms came in, and it all changed.

Wild turkeys in my driveway.

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Wild turkeys in my driveway.
Swirling waters off the Mendocino Headlands.
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Swirling waters off the Mendocino Headlands.
It sounds daunting if you’re not from around here, but people really pull together when we have a massive outage. Kudos go to Tom Yates and Vicky and Joe and all the gang at KOZT-FM, who broadcast throughout the storm. They pull together updates from PG&E and the County and Highway Patrol and the phone company, and give updates every half hour about the progress of the recovery. When you’re stuck in the dark, hearing friendly voices keeping you abreast of developments is a wonderful thing. Many restaurants and stores have generators, so you can stay warm and well-fed.

If you are up here when something like this happens, you have to go with the flow. On the plus side, the waves are magnificent after the storms. If you want to take your own postcard pictures, that’s the time. You have to stay away from the blufftops, of course, because of sleeper waves and winds. In between the storms, the weather this time of year can be surprisingly warm (mid-60s even), and you can check out the migrating whales.

Welcome to 2008!

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