Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Weather not fit for any umbrella
Mid summer was not a good period for our lawn furniture. Let me explain why.
- On July 2, a short, but violent mid afternoon thunderstorm managed to create havoc with the above named furniture. Specifically, the backyard table, complete with umbrella, the lawn chairs, the single pole umbrella as well as Anne's new installed 'book case' with glass shelves were all blown over. The single pole umbrella had 2 70 kg blocks of concrete holding it down, to no avail. You can see one of the blocks thrown over the side of the deck by the force of the wind. We were able to repair the umbrella by attaching of piece of aluminum to the only rib that was broken. We placed the umbrella back on the deck and, as further reinforcement, added a couple of lag bolts screwed into the deck to hold it down more. We cleaned up the rest of the mess. Some damage was done, but not too bad.
- July 15th was a bit windy, but otherwise a beautiful summer's day. Ronny and I were installing a cabinet in the shed and Anne was watering the flowers on the deck. All of a sudden we hear her scream. We look over and the next thing you know, we see umbrellas flying everywhere. What I suspect happened is that this was a dust devil, a mini tornado, minus the dust, so invisible otherwise. It did just a fine job on the single pole umbrella: the concrete blocks and the lag bolts didn't budge this time, but something had to give so it was the top pivot point, where the umbrella is fastened to the post, that gave way. It was twisted at about a 45 degree angle, making the entire umbrella useless. Solution: demolish it. Ronny got to use his brand new hack saw on the aluminum posts. The table umbrella magically survived again.
- July 20th. Well, we needed shade on the deck, 'cause otherwise it is hotter than blazes back there. I made the mistake of reading the Canadian Tire flyer, in which I spotted a four poster 'sun shelter' for only $ 50. After some humming and hawing in the store, I decided to buy one. Another mistake. After we got it home, we noticed how extremely flimsy it was. We got it up allright, with a little bit of improvisation. The shade was great while it lasted (the shelter, that is). On that fateful July 20th, the rains came. Well, that's a bit overdramatic. Let's just say we had a pretty good shower. Now, one of the key properties of water is is that it is fairly heavy. It started to collect in one of the pockets of the cover of the sun shelter. Once enough water collected, it just plain collapsed. Shoulda known. It was a sun shelter not a rain shelter. Back to Canadian Tire to get my money back.
- August 2nd. So far we had blamed all our troubles on Ronny, my nephew from the Netherlands. After all, all this began the day after he arrived. However, he left on the 22nd of July and on August 2nd, we were once again hit by a terrific thunderstorm, in the middle of the night (1:30 to be exact). It woke me up, and it seemed to come on so fast that I told Anne: "Into the basement!" So we scurried on down, into the storage rooom, to wait this one out. Once things settled down a bit, we went upstairs and peeked outside, to see the table + umbrella blown over again (the umbrella was down), along with chairs and, once again, Anne's bookshelf with the last of the glass shelves now broken as well. We did a closer inspection at first light and noticed that the umbrella, which had landed against the kitchen window, had produced a hairline crack in that window. Umbrella busted for good. Solution: junk it.
Now, this last thunderstorm did quite a trick on trees in the neighborhood as well: there are about 10 trees down in our forest, with the path completely blocked. It took the top out of the very tall maple in my neighbour's yard, which, of course, had to land in our front yard, so now I'm stuck with it.
More about the storm here and here. Surprisingly, we never lost our hydro.
This storm was the end of five days of 35+ weather. Some days produced humidex readings of 46! Talk about your wet blanket!Now we've been down to 25+ with fairly low humidity readings, just perfect!