There has been a wind advisory all day today and it is still in effect until 10:00 pm tonight We've had winds of 20-30 m.p.h. with gusts as high as 50 m.p.h. That's windy! In fact, Hurricane force winds begin at 70 m.p.h., just to put it into perspective! There was no precipitation accompanying the wind. In fact it was most sunny outside....with a lot of blowing!
Trees and shrubs are bending and whipping around, and fences are blowing down all over town. Tree branches and yard debris litter lawns and parking lots. Dust and dirt fill the air at times, looking very much like a dust storm that you often see in open desert-y kinds of terrain. Street signs and stoplights are bouncing around in the wind and look none too secure. I didn't see any that actually came loose, but it wouldn't have surprised me if it did happen!
I was having lunch in a restaurant this afternoon and the lights flickered and went out about 5 or 6 times. Every time the lights when out and the emergency lights came on, you could hear a chorus of groans and muffled yells of frustration coming out of the kitchen. As I mentioned it was a mostly sunny day, so the seating areas of the restaurant were not plunged into darkness periodically. There were lots of windows, so you could still see. The kitchen however, is buried in the middle of the building with no windows at all. I surely wouldn't want to be slicing, dicing, or frying something in the almost dark! And after the sun went down, the almost dark was probably a lot darker!
The servers said that it had been happening all day. The lights didn't stay out for long, probably no more that 30-45 seconds, but when it happens 5 or 6 times in an hour for about 5 hours, that's got to be annoying! The servers also said that every time the lights go out, of course, that means that the computers go out too. That was wreaking havoc on orders to the kitchen and on creating the bills for customers, because unlike light bulbs which immediately re-light when the electricity comes back on, computers took a long time to get back up and running again. I overheard part of a conversation from a table across from me, and learned that the mini-outages had been happening in the nearby mall as well.
To give credit where due, however, my lunch was not affected at all that I could tell. It was served in a timely manner and was piping hot just as it should have been. Kudos to the staff of The Olive Garden. Nice job guys!
It is frequently windy in Austin, partly due to all the hills and valleys (I think), but today was over the top. Because of the high winds they have also issued a fire weather alert. The wind could quickly fan the smallest spark into a major wildfire. Since the wildfires of a couple of winters ago in several sections around Austin, everyone is aware that, yes, it could happen here again! So they are a bit more vigilant about fire safety.
I have never much cared for wind. I'm a small (okay....short) person and if I'm outside, some of those gusts can make me feel like I could just be picked up and blown away. Strong winds usually mean that a cold front is moving into the area, so usually the winds are cold too. The wind chill for today as 49F while the actual temperature was in the low 60s. This kind of wind blows cars around on the road and that is not a great feeling either! As I sat in my car for a few minutes after lunch, I was bouncing around just like I was flying into turbulence at 30,000 ft! It was disconcerting!
Since I got home, the winds have died down a little. I can still hear things outside so it's still pretty blowy out there, but it's not too bad. The good news is I don't see any evidence that the power went out (clocks are still correct) and our fence seems to be all in one piece, thank goodness.
According a lovely musical, named Paint Your Wagon, "....the rain is Bess, the fire Joe, and They Call the Wind Maria", but today in Austin, they just call it a pain in the rump-us room!