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Flying Roof Post Mortem

April 16, 2013

The storm damage last Thursday was oddly local- not really local to the town or county but extremely local to the 1/2 of a block that the plumbing supply business and my home occupy….

Thursday after work, I was talking on the phone and wandered out to our sun room at around 6:30 to observe the storm (ha, understatement) when I saw the roofing of the small garage apartment start peeling off and flying away. In just a few seconds the wind picked up another notch; I hung up and yelled to Mrs cohutt to head to the basement as I started to run back towards the stairs in the center of our home. Things got extremely loud as the metal ripped off of the building and flew our way into the trees and power lines. Then almost as quickly as it started it ended – right about the time we made it to the steps and were expecting the “tornado” to hit us.

It turns out it was just an intense burst of wind that had combined with a bad roofing job that happened to line up a little too well with my back yard. The metal roofing had been added some time back on top of a much older but more substantial roof; this was a cost cutting decision I’m sure. It was elevated over the old roof from around 1 to 3 feet depending on where in the pitch one measured it, and when the wind got an opening started under the edge the whole thing took off like a sail.

Fortunately for us, the lower edge of the piece pictured in the previous post caught the power lines running down the alley beside my fence. This of course caused us to lose power but the lines absorbed the blow and dropped the piece straight down over the fence and part of the garden. It pulled most of the lines down and broke off two poles a couple hundred yards down the alley but it sure kept it off of my house.

There were 4 large sections of roofing-
One flopped into the business’s side lot, one hit the trees across the alley and crumpled up (leaving some sections 40 feet off the ground), and the other two headed my way and got snagged by the power lines.

That evening and the next morning I surveyed the damage and took a few pictures:

The view from my roof Friday morning ( the source of it all was the buildings behind the end of the gutter).

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and back towards the house:

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Note the power lines are repaired in these pictures; the crews worked all night to replace the poles re-string the lines. The night before they were down and under the metal; you can see how they caught it and dropped it:

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By the next morning they had removed the downed lines from under the metal; that in itself woke the dead at 330 AM. Metal is noisy; the bigger it is the noisier it is.

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The other large pieces I mentioned were nearby; this one took out the bat house and blackberry trellis (and half of the vines) before wrapping around the trees along the property line in the back. The picture doesn’t do the size of this piece justice as it reached almost all of the way back to my neighbors house on the far side. And yes, another tree in her yard has split and is propped up over part of my yard. Yay.

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Across the alley this was the view, with my fence and yard in the background:

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You will notice some damage to my sheds and fences but they are all in pretty good shape overall. I didn’t come through it unscathed but it could have been a whole lot worse.

As of Sunday evening, the material was pretty much removed and everything cleaned up. I bartered a deal with a roofer to remove the metal just for the salvage / scrap rights so I can’t really complain much. I have a lot of repairs to do but am not going to miss the start of the season busting my rump to get them done.

Lucky break, all things considered.

I’m taking inventory of damage and will provide an update in my next post.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2013 6:50 am

    I thought the freaky weather was the UK’s prerogative! You were so lucky!

  2. April 16, 2013 9:37 am

    This looks really scary. I’m just thankful you and Mrs. Cohutt were not hurt. Too bad about your beautiful garden.

  3. SloSheepdog permalink
    April 16, 2013 10:50 am

    I’m glad you’re safe with minimal damage. I’m a particular fan of your bat-house. Best of luck to you going forward.

    • April 16, 2013 10:59 am

      It may ultimately be repaired and hoisted again, but I just don’t see it happening anytime soon with everything else on the list.

  4. April 16, 2013 2:12 pm

    You must have been terrified, I know I would be. Lucky your house was’nt hit.

    • April 17, 2013 8:49 pm

      Scared? Maybe…..

      Intensely concerned? Definitely…..


  5. April 16, 2013 3:46 pm

    Obviously this could have been a lot worse, okay, it could have been a lot better by not happening at all, but, all things considered, you came out pretty lucky from a very freak storm. Phew.

    • April 17, 2013 8:51 pm

      Yes. Rather be lucky that good 9 times out of 10. 😉

  6. Gail permalink
    April 18, 2013 3:06 pm

    Smart deal with the roofer! I was wondering how you were going to get all that mess outta there.

    • April 18, 2013 9:51 pm

      So was I. John Wayne Dennis the roofer/metal scavenger is an honest hard worker, even after we busted his face open when one of the channel beams kicked back.


  1. Anniversary Gong (and more) | Behind cohutt's fence

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