Wisconsin Storm Damage #1: Trees, trees, trees, and more trees

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Blog entry by lightweightladylefty posted 09-09-2011 07:06 AM 3788 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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On September 2, a violent storm with 65 to 85 mph winds crossed central Wisconsin. It seems there was very little coverage of the storm. Even the communities less than an hour north or south of us were not aware of the severity of the storm which isn’t surprising considering the news coverage. Once our power was restored (32 hours later), this was all the news I could find about our county. (When our power was restored, more than half of those affected were still without power.)
“Straight line winds led to scattered tree limbs and downed power lines in the county. The public safety building is running on generator power and residents in several communities are without power. No reports of injuries and no reports of damage to businesses.” [emphasis mine]
As you read my story and look at the photographs, see if you believe in the accuracy of our media. ;-)

I’m a late sleeper and was in bed just after 8:00 when the electricity went out. My husband asked me to unplug the computer so I got up and did so, then returned to bed. A few minutes later, he came into the bedroom and told me I needed to get up and dressed immediately because trees were falling. The bedroom is on the southwest corner lower level (4 feet below grade) but since the wind was coming from the southwest, he did not think it would be safe there. We headed to the bathroom, also on the lower level on the east side of the house, as a safer location.

When the severity of the storm was realized, my husband—who had just suffered a heart attack on August 3—prayed that God would spare our home because he knew he would not be able to repair it. The wind howled so loudly that it was not possible to even hear trees falling and we didn’t want to be near windows to watch.

When the storm diminished at about 9:00 a.m., we looked out to see what damage we could see from the lower level. A very large oak lay in the backyard, about 20 feet from the house.

A pine and oak were broken off and hung up in a maple tree less than 10 feet from the lower level patio door. (We have never gotten around to building the upper deck which would have been hit had we had one.)

A large branch had broken off an oak in the front yard but from our vantage point, it appeared to be an entire tree.

Neither the garage nor the shop appeared to have any damage to them.

When we finally ventured out into the rain, we saw that the only structural damage was to the garden fence which had a tree on it. God answers prayer.

While we were outside another tree behind the shop came crashing down. I decided to venture down the driveway to see if it was open, only to find that it was covered with trees.

The tree which fell a few years ago and forms an archway over the entrance to the driveway still remained hung up. (We were waiting for it to come down on its own, but we’ve had two wind storms since it broke off and neither storm budged it!)

So I walked down the second driveway which is just a grass path and there were only two trees on it, one about 8 inches in diameter and the other even smaller. My husband (against doctor’s orders) got out the chainsaw and started cutting up the larger tree. When he was about half done, a neighbor stopped with his chainsaw and they finished cutting while the neighbor’s mother and I moved the pieces off the driveway.

The road in either direction in front of our property had numerous trees down. Someone had already been down the road and trimmed off enough to be able to pass by in the ditch.

There were about 10 trees across the road in less than a half mile. Later we found that the road about a half mile behind us had three times as many trees across it.

Our property has hundreds of trees down, broken off, or hung up in other trees. We’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that it will not be cleaned up in our lifetime. Many of our oaks are dead or dying from oak wilt, but the trees that went down were nearly all live trees since their fully leafed crowns were no match for the wind. The dead trees didn’t offer the same wind resistance.

My husband grooms trails throughout our woods so we can enjoy walking through God’s beautiful creation here. It will be a long time before we can enjoy that again. He counted 14 trees down on the portion of trail that was accessible.

On our way to church on Sunday night, we noticed the wind damage to some of the pine plantations around the corner from our home. It was reminiscent of the palms on the beautiful beach in Akumal, Yucatan, Mexico (30 years ago when there was only one resort).

As we drove through our neighborhood, we were amazed to see only one home with a tree on it when there are thousands of trees uprooted and broken off all around us. God is good!

Because the forest is so dense, it is difficult to see the devastation in photographs.

A section of our property has a large stand of mature poplar (bigtooth and sawtooth aspen) which we had tried for six months to get someone to cut for us with no success. (An early spring tornado in the area has kept foresters busy.) There isn’t much left of those trees now; only a few still stand.

On Labor Day, we labored! My husband got out the chainsaw and worked to remove the tree from the fence so he could keep the deer out of what was left of the garden. Just as he finished, a van pulled into the grass driveway. It was a brother-in-Christ from the church we attend 35 miles from here. He had come with his chainsaw to remove the trees from our driveway. PTL! He had them all cut by suppertime and much of it was removed before he left that evening.

Tuesday his wife called and said she had arranged for a group of willing workers to come down on Saturday and remove some of the other trees. God is truly good!

We may not be able to take advantage of making lumber from the large logs because of my husband’s heart attack, but we will have firewood for our lifetime!


Please excuse the poor photo quality. I had to compress them so I could upload them in less than 48 hours with dial-up. ;-)

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

5 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18672 posts in 4186 days

#1 posted 09-09-2011 07:30 AM

Nice to hear somebody got through a storm in good shape. Nice of the other members to help clear the area for you too. Glad to hear you are OK!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3396 posts in 4223 days

#2 posted 09-09-2011 07:50 AM


Thanks for the encouragement. We are blessed. There have been so many (across the country . . . around the world) who were less fortunate.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Walnutz's profile


27 posts in 2975 days

#3 posted 09-09-2011 05:06 PM

Glad you made it through uninjured. I live in Wisconsin also and you are right, there was very little coverage of that storm but we did see some of the damage while traveling through on Saturday. We have been hit by many small storms with straight line winds this summer. Just goes to show you, it’s not always the tornados you have to watch out for.

View patron's profile


13654 posts in 3851 days

#4 posted 09-09-2011 05:23 PM

good to hear you are well

firewood for life sounds good

when all the pinon trees died here
i thought the same

but 5 years later
they are all punky
so i have to buy wood now

but it does free me up for doing other
just as important things

God bless

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3396 posts in 4223 days

#5 posted 09-09-2011 07:27 PM

Walnutz, I drove home from town a different way yesterday and saw very little damage as close as two miles south of us. I guess it’s understandable that some thought there were only scattered tree limbs.

Patron, we know the wood won’t last forever but most of it is oak which lasts pretty long; the white oak is pretty indestructible. This is the first time I’ve ever stacked green firewood, and it’s heavy! ;-) (I’m a wimp.) My husband has only been cutting the dead oaks after they finally drop which sometimes means they’re dead for ten years before he cuts and splits it. Once in a while it will be punky, but most is still good. The poplar (which we rarely burn) doesn’t last very long at all and we never burn pine since we only have an inside wood furnace and the creosote build-up here with pine is too dangerous. You’re right. Making firewood is time-consuming and sometimes keeps us from other important tasks.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

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