A strong wind storm is a live, untamed thing. An awesome event even when viewed from inside a sturdy, warm house. It is a force of nature not to be underestimated, reasoned with or conquered. All you can do is bundle up and hang on for the ride. The wind raged non-stop for four long days.
Dare to step out the door and it threatened to do more than snatch your breath away. Combined with sub-zero temps and power outages, this storm was dangerous.
Even inside our well-insulated home, it sounded for all the world like a speeding, out of control freight train had been diverted right past our living room.
Steady, sustained winds of 45-60 mph, with regular gusts of up to 100 mph rampaged across our region for four grueling days and nights before gradually sighing (in sheer exhaustion?) and slowing to nothing more than a lively breeze and finally pausing … perhaps to catch its breath?
During the worst of it, concerned for the safety of our 14 lb. dachshunds (as well as ourselves) in these high winds, we confined their potty walks to our front porch, where they already have a semi-sheltered corner, with a low-sided 3’x4’ wooden box bedded in wood chips for their frigid-weather doggy needs.
The “potty palace” even has a heat lamp securely attached overhead for those below zero (not counting wind-chill!) nights.
Under normal conditions, Baxter usually distains using the box, preferring to lift his leg on a snow berm in the yard unless there is deep, un-shoveled snow – or, it seems, in the case of really bad wind storms. 💨🌬💨
Sadly, even this accommodation wasn’t quite sufficient for poor 11-year-old Baxter. Already phobic about movement and loud noises after being trapped in the November 30, 2018 earthquake; the roaring of the wind, accompanied by the occasional sharp rattle of wind-borne tree debris against windows, and at one point a [well-secured] dog kennel breaking free and tumbling noisily across the deck – Baxter was a traumatized wreck.
Even with anxiety medication and wearing his Thunder Shirt, he quaked and whimpered throughout the four day mega wind storm, spending much of the time tightly burrowed between Jerry’s leg and the arm of the big recliner … under a blanket.
We resorted to periodically carrying him outside to the potty corner, fleece-coated and leashed up least he panic and blindly bolt into the darkness. Once set down on the wood chips, Baxter would pee right where he was standing, not bothering to sniff or even lift a leg. He’d remain in place, tense with apprehension, until we carried him back inside to the dubious (in his mind) safety of the house.
Rhonda, on the other hand, remained gloriously unconcerned as long as we, her human servants, maintained a warm fire in “her” wood stove.
Eventually, the wind event was dubbed The New Year’s Wind Storm, after the “New Year’s Day” wind storm and then “New Year’s Weekend” wind storm names were ruled out, both time-spans having passed with no abatement in the hurricane-force gale charging unchecked across much of Alaska.
When the wind finally died, the silence was eerie.
The first night after the storm passed, I slept fitfully, waking with a start to the tiniest sound in our otherwise strangely quiet house.
I wasn’t alone in my hyper-vigilance. Each time I stirred, I met Baxter’s eyes from where he was curled snugly between Jer and I, partially covered by a small blankie. Head up and watchful, he’d glance at me as if to say, “Did you hear that??”
It took us a couple of days to locate lost items, pick up and dispose of tree branches and other yard and driveway debris, check in with neighbors and generally take a deep breath of relief. Baxter and I finally slept through the night last night.
Today, as the sun begins to set … the wind is picking up once again. After only two days of respite, our area is under yet another high-wind advisory. Sigh. It’s not forecast to be anywheres near as bad as the last, but I don’t think Baxter is going to be mollified.