On Tuesday, the 16th, pockets of Hurricane Fabio blew over Southern California as it broke up after hitting land. We were expecting humidity for a few days and that’s about it.
We were wrong. Very wrong.
As a science field trip this hot, 106 degree, Tuesday, I took the kids across the street to watch three pigs be slaughtered and prepped for a locker. I noticed there was one big black cloud in the sky and knew it was black enough to give us a few drops of much needed rain. Sure enough, we started getting a few refreshing drops from this lone black cloud in an all blue sky as the third pig met it’s demise. The heat was unbearable by this point, however, and after watching the scene twice before, I decided it was time to bring the kids home for hydration.
In the time it took me to walk across the neighbor’s property (about 2 acres), across the street, through our gate and up our walk to the front door, the strangest things began to unfold.
As I filed the kids through the front door, the slight breeze turned to wild wind, and the bright, blue sky we had 3 minutes before was now dark brown, nearly black. Like the lone, rainy black cloud spread thin and took over our skies in just minutes. I got Faith up to her homework and chatted about her doing it quickly so if it rained more, she could go out and play in it. I walked back through the kitchen and looked out my window and saw the wind blowing really hard now. I pulled up my weather app on my phone and it still said it was 106 and sunny. I pulled up an hourly forecast and there was no mention of this bizarre weather. I went outside to get a feel for what was happening because the wind was fierce and it was beginning to rain good. The wind and rain were cold, but it was still hot even with the cloud cover. It reminded me of tornado weather! I texted Lowell to tell him about the strange turn in weather and told the kids if the wind got any crazier, we were going to retreat to the tub for a few minutes. We have been home for 5 minutes now.
The wind got more intense. The rain was coming down so hard, it was like looking out through a fog. Tree braches started to fall. The roof started to blow away. And then it began to hail marble size hail. Then, because it was raining so hard, and the wind was blowing so intensely, we were loosing our shingles, and the water was pouring through the roof, window frames, the ventilation fan on the stove, and light fixtures. Not just drips, full on like it was raining indoors. We scrambled putting bowls and pots in the really bad areas and towels everywhere else. And, in our back room, water was coming in through the whole wall and soaked the carpet 2 feet in.
At some point in all of this, Lowell got home. He said everything was flooding in town, kids were getting out of the high school up the street and walking almost knee deep through water and mud. He pulled up his weather app and it was still saying Sunny and 104. So, we got on the computer (because amazingly we still had power and internet) and pulled up our city via a storm tracker or the weather channel. We saw little green areas moving through the radar in cities around us, but right over us was a huge red spot! Basically, Fabio hit land, broke up in to pockets, and his worse pocket was right over our little town wreaking havoc and mayhem. Lowell went back to the front of the house where the kids were while I stayed staring at the computer completely mesmerized by this radar that was being tracked over us.
There was a noise. Lowell said, “What was that?” as I walked up through the kitchen toward them in the living room. I looked through the front window as he was saying it and noticed it didn’t seem very dark, so I said it looked like we lost a branch from the huge Texas Umbrella tree we have in the front yard. Lowell went to the window and said, “The wasn’t a branch, IT WAS THE WHOLE TREE!!!!!” I ran over and there our 60 ft tall tree was on it’s side, breaking a fence in it’s fall and laying in half the flooded street. We were blown away (pun somewhat intended)! It didn’t sound loud enough to be the whole tree; and holy moly! Praise Jesus the wind had shifted away from the house. Lowell and the kids would have been smashed.
The storm raged on for a total of 2 hours before the wind simmered down to a simple breeze and the clouds began to break.
We were finally able to go out and see what trouble Fabio caused while he was visiting. Neighbors came creeping out of their flooded homes to offer help and support to neighbors in the most need. Chainsaws came out as folks removed trees from driveways and the street. There was lots of conversation from everyone who had driven in and what destruction they’d seen. It was really neat to see everyone pull together and helping a brother out. Funny how disaster brings strangers together in a bond that is immediately strong.
Before long, three news ‘copters were hovering steadily over our neighborhood and slowly moved out as they captured the flooding and chaos. The dairy that is around the corner from us was under water. The high school was pretty beat up and under water. Homes had water half up their front doors. On- and/or off ramps were closed. Trampolines had flown out of yards and into highways. There were crews out everywhere tackling fallen trees. And, in our yard, it got so flooded back there that we found gophers who had drowned or who were crawling in patches of land not-under-water and literally coughing…
By dinner time, things had mostly settled and gotten as squared away as possible. The temperature reached 86 finally and we learned that at one point in Fabio’s presence, we got 3 inches of rain in 30 minutes. Lowell worked with the neighbors in cutting back our tree so cars could pass safely on our street again while the kids enjoyed playing in the tree on our end.
And, that night we were blessed with a phenomenal sunset. Bright white, billowy clouds set beautifully against a blue sky with golden sun beams. I wasn’t able to capture it in all it’s amazing beauty, but I did get a small shot I loved.