Hail Storm Hell

People wonder why I am so fanatical about storing tarps, lumber, hammers, and nails. It's because three times in the history of my house, there have been catastrophic episodes of window-shattering: in 1935 due to earthquake; in 1982 due to hail storm; and in 1989 due to train wreck. How much time do I really want to spend trying to track down the things I need when my windows break? When I consider that the 1935 quake happened when it was 25 degrees below zero, and the train wreck happened when it was 29 degrees below zero, do I really want to have to wait for hours for the stores to open? And then get in line behind a thousand other people who were also unprepared for broken windows? Or would I prefer to have everything I need on hand so I can just get to the job right away?

True story: Several summers ago, the Montana town of Lewistown was hit by one of those hellacious hail storms. Lewistown is a town of about 6,000 people, and many of the west-facing windows in town shattered in the storm. Lewistown only has one hardware/lumber supply store in town, and they were sold out of their lumber and tarps within moments after the storm passed. Therefore, a long line of Lewistown residents headed to the next town over,  Billings, to get lumber. Even though it's the next town over, it's still more than 100 miles away, meaning a 200 mile round-trip to get lumber. Soon all the lumber yards in Billings were sold out, meaning people had to drive back to Lewistown, and then head out to Great Falls, 100 miles away in the opposite direction. That meant some citizens had to make a journey of over 400 miles just to cover their broken windows.

What if the windows one day shatter due to a nuclear bomb taking out Malmstrom Air Force Base, which controls all of Montana's nukes? What if a radioactive fallout cloud was heading their way? All of the people who had to drive several hundred miles just to cover their windows would be far more likely to suffer and perish than those who already had what they needed on hand.

So that's why I'm fanatical about being able to tarp and board up all of my windows. If you live in hurricane country, tornado alley, or earthquake land-- you should, too.

Leave a Reply.