Saturday, August 14, 2010

93; Not Fahrenheit

Yesterday afternoon we hit 93 here in the Flint Hills; that is, a 93 MPH sustained wind gust.  I've often lamented the windy nature of Kansas in the past and I've seen 70MPH sustained winds, but I don't know if I've ever seen a 93MPH sustained gust.

The occasion was a summer storm initiated by a cold front moving in to break our month-long streak 100+F weather, and since I was in a meeting in the interior of a very large K-State building, I missed it entirely.  I emerged to see the end of a fabulous but short rainstorm that brought about one inch of rain to break our month-long drought, to the site of limbs down over the KSU campus, and to a phone message from Mrs. Professorroush that the power was out at home. 

On the bright side, my garden survived the wind intact.  I've spent some time over the past few years learning how to prevent wind damage to the structures in my garden and it has paid off.  That knowledge was hard-won and primarily consists of over engineering structures in my garden to resist an atomic blast, to trimming trees and shrubs to encourage compact form, and to frequent prayer during storms.  I was most pleased to see the several wire towers for vining plants (honeysuckle, Sweet Autumn clematis, bittersweet) in my garden came through without a dent.  Before reinforcing them this spring, a gale like this would have left them looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  And my 2 year old, handmade/homemade octagonal gazebo is still standing.  During its construction, I knew better than to use a flimsy commercial kit, lest I someday have to search for the remains of the gazebo in Missouri, so it's anchored with 8 four X four posts that are cemented in the ground and so far, it's survived the worst of the Kansas weather.

My minor casualties consisted of a few splayed ornamental grasses (Panicum virgatum ‘Prairie Sky’ seems to be the worst of these), a snapped off Caryopteris 'Blue Mist',   and a broken-off rose, Griff's Red, that was down to a single cane and had been struggling anyway.  With a little luck, the only permanent damage was the Griff's Red loss and I tried to minimize that impact by planting some stem cuttings from the cane.  Time will tell.


  1. I was attracted to your site by a Google search for "Gazebo Wind Damage". I wanted to see if cementing into the ground was necessary, or is the weight of a timber frame gazebo enough to prevent them from blowing away. I had a commercial light-iron one that twisted in the wind and collapsed.

  2. I don't know if cementing is necessary. But in this area, I'd certainly recommend it. I've had a patio table lifted from a covered deck and deposited 10 feet away, upside down, glass top shattered. I've seen trees toppled and I constantly replace shingles on my roof. I'm not even sure cementing the gazebo down was enough :)


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