I just got back to work a little while ago from lunch. I was over half an hour late in returning, because a strong storm hit while I was out and suddenly, the entire area became like a disaster zone.
It started with really heavy rain as I left the sandwich shop. I began to drive back to the office, but one of my wiper blades flew off. (This is the same wiper blade that gave me trouble about a month ago! I guess I didn’t fix it, after all.) I pulled into a parking lot and waited out the rain.
It took about 12 minutes to pass. In that time, the wind howled and rocked my car as rain and hail pelted the car. It was scary. I saw big tree branches flying from the trees at the edge of the parking lot, and prayed none of them would hit my car. Visibility was pretty much zero.
Finally, like all rain storms in Phoenix, it died down and the rain stopped altogether and the sun came out. I cleared off my windshield and carefully began the trek back to work.
The roads were flooded, though. And branches were in the roads, everywhere. I was inching along in a line of slow traffic when all of the sudden, the woman in front of me hit her brakes hard. I hit mine, very aware of the big Hummer (no kidding) behind me, tailgating me. I braked as hard as I dared, and tried to plan a way to get out of hydroplaning into the car in front of me. This was going to SUCK.
BAM. I hit the woman’s bumper. Amazingly, the Hummer didn’t hit me. But I had just rear-ended someone. Son of a BITCH! We got out and by some miracle, there was no damage to her car. Maybe a faint scratch, but seriously… her car looked fine. My front bumper, on the other hand, has some scrapes and a slight dent. We pulled off the road (she had braked because a large tree branch was in the road; I guess she didn’t see it until it was right there in front of her) and I gave her my insurance info. But I think nothing is going to happen, because she called her husband and he told her if there was no damage, not to worry about. She was a black woman with a very heavy accent, and I think they didn’t have insurance. She (and her husband, who called me afterwards) said they didn’t want the hassle of dealing with insurance and police if there was nothing really wrong. Oh, thank God. I didn’t want to see my rates go up for THAT. When there was no damage and the hit happened because of road conditions. I pray they don’t decide to try to sue me or something, though! (I doubt it, I really do.)
So, after we left the scene, I tried to drive back to the office and was thwarted at pretty much every turn. I saw huge (HUGE!) trees torn out of the ground and lying in roads and across people’s fences and yards. In one case, a big tree was uprooted and blown up against the side of a condominium building. I don’t know if there were broken windows behind the branches or not, but it looked bad.
Then, the streets were flooded. Cars were stranded in a large pool of water in one neighborhood I tried to cut through, so I turned around and went back the way I came. The traffic was backed up for at least a mile because all the traffic lights were out, and yeah, there were still a bunch of trees and branches all over the place. It really looked like a warzone or something. Fire trucks, ambulances and police cars went by pretty much non-stop. I actually lost track of the number of trees that were fully uprooted in my drive back to the office. I got up to about 10, I think. But I saw many more.
It’s so sad. I love trees and hate seeing this happen. I wish that it would just rain like a normal place when it rains out here. We always seem to get these loud, harsh, violent storms that last 10 minutes and cause a wide swath of damage, and then they disappear leaving hardly a cloud in the sky. Back in NJ, it would rain steadily for three or four days, yes, but at least it wasn’t like a mini hurricane every time it rained. Fully-grown trees didn’t get blown up against condos.
So now, I am panicking about my own house. I called my sister, who works only 5 minutes from my house, and she said that yes, the storm did hit over there just as violently as what I experienced in my part of town. I am so worried about my big eucalyptus tree, the new baby trees in my backyard, and most of all, my roof.
Because yesterday we had a storm, too, and it whipped about a dozen shingles off my house and all over the front yard. Several more were still up there this morning, sticking straight up in the air. I already called my insurance company about that today, hoping to get an estimate on what the damage is going to cost me. (I have a $1K deductible, so of course I’ll be paying for it out of pocket, whatever it is.) I’m angry that it happened, and that I might need to spend more money on my house in an incredibly un-fun way.
Argh. I can’t stop worrying. I wish I could go home now, but I really doubt I can, or should. There’s already another storm rolling in behind this one, and I can hear thunder outside right now. I don’t want to be caught out in the middle of one of these things if I can help it… especially with one broken wiper!
I just wanted to vent about this, so that’s why I blogged about it. I truly hope that Simon and Hurley are OK! I hope the tree didn’t fall down onto the roof and they’re trapped and scared. Yikes. I am freaking myself out!
Two more hours to go before I can get home to them. I’ve got my fingers crossed that everything at the house is just fine! Pleasepleaseplease!