Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Worst 48hrs Since We Set Out......

I thought that things had been bad weather wise as I reported in my last post on this blog....
What a fool I was......!!!
More bad weather had been forecast for this past week...

Some wag had called the oncoming bad weather "The Beast from the East"..... 
I really hate those stupid names that seem to be given to everything these days...every storm now has to have a name which is designed to make it sound more like the chap (or his wife) across the road...I prefer details on wind speed...rain fall etc...  
Detailed information is far more useful than knowing that the bad weather aproaching is called the beast from wherever....

Anyway after closing the pop top on the caravan a week ago it stayed shut for the entire week due to the continuous very strong winds.....

As we moved through the week the temperature fell dramatically.... on a couple of mornings the outside of the windows on Eva were just like frosted glass with solid ice over the entire outside of the caravan......

I didn't sleep for 48hrs.... both Wednesday and Thursday nights we had storm force winds tearing down from the moor reaching gusts of up to ninety miles an hour.....This was the worst 48hrs we have experienced since we set out.......
The awning was jumping all over the place and was flapping and banging like nothing we have ever experienced before... scary is too mild a term for what it felt like especially when the caravan was hit by the gusts...

Wednesday night was just wind but on Thursday night the snow arrived as well.....
Our awning was being ripped to pieces as we watched.....
The pegs seemed to be holding due to the frozen ground.....all the tension was on the stitching around the bottom edge..... trouble was that after one section ripped it made it easier for the wind to rip out the next section....

The next parts to go were the side windows..... as it was easy for the wind to now get into the awning due to the damage it had already done it made short work of blowing the windows out and tearing them to shreds.......

With gaping holes everywhere the awning started to fill with snow over everything..... 
A few images below to show what it was like:- ........


I went to the toilet block with no snow...10 mins later this was blowing in.

First snow blasting into the site.

Side window torn to shreds..note the snow starting to drift against the awning.

Interior of awning with snow everywhere...

The other end of the awning....

Front panel with rips along pegging points..note previous attempted temporary repair.

No access up Pork hill from campsite.....on late Friday freezing rain had created black ice everywhere.
On the Friday morning only one awning had survived with just minimal damage..... 
The others..mine included.... were all damaged beyond economical repair..... in other words they were all but destroyed.....

All the water standpipes on the site were frozen solid....and those caravans that were hooked up to a water supply had no water......we have all our water in onboard containers so no frozen tap problems for us.....

From the Friday lunch time the electricity supply kept going on and off and eventually went off and stayed off..... The electricity engineers estimated that the supply would not be restored until 1800hrs...later on this was revised to 0030hrs Saturday morning although they eventually restored it at 1915hrs on Friday evening.
This was all caused to damage to the cables caused by the weight of ice on the cables which was the result of freezing rain and wind....

When the rain started it was managing to wash the snow away but then as it began to freeze the roads were like ice rinks....
The road outside the club site where it starts to ascend Pork hill had been closed during the snow and then it continued to be closed with the black ice (see last image above.) 

All in all we have survived quite well.....We are warm and safe.....
All of the country was hit by this.... some areas had it far worse than us and others had it far better than us..
However this was the first time that a 'Red Alert' has been issued for Devon since the coding system of alerts was started and being in a caravan in those truly distructive winds was really a scary experience and one that I have no wish to repeat..... 
Other long time caravan and motorhome owners on site have told me that they had never experienced anything close to this......

Since Saturday we have all started the big clear up.....
Items that were in the awnings have been soaked first from the snow and then heavy rain blowing in so a lot of discarding of damaged items is under way....
We will be taking down what is left of our awning during the next couple of days..... Some of the other awnings on the site have already been removed......

What a calm stress free and  peaceful life caravanning is..........!!

I will keep you posted on any other developments........

11 comments:

Dave said...

Its very scary in a van with high winds, let alone snow and freezing temps. There's not a lot you can do once the awning starts to go and its that feeling of helplessness that I find stressful. Of all the elements for me high winds are the worse. We had a fair depth of snow here with deep drifts and were locked in for 3 days although we managed a few walks around. All the best and hope you get everything sorted out soon.

Trevor Woodford said...

@Dave
Thanks Dave..... Your comment on the feeling of helplessness being stressful is spot on. For me like you, strong winds are the element I fear the most...
Pleased to hear all ok with you and that you managed a few walks despite the deep drifts...

Bob Andrews said...

I assume you have strong bladders as going outside must have been scary. hardly any snow in our part of West Wales but we did have the strong winds.

Stay safe.

Trevor Woodford said...

@Bob Andrews
As you say...... it was scary to go outside as with the strength of the winds there was a good chance of being blown right off our feet..... We do have an on board toilet so our bladders didn't suffer too much... :-)

jack said...

This blog is very informative, Good job

Trevor Woodford said...

@Jack
Thanks Jack....
I bet snow and freezing conditions is not something you have to worry about right now over there in New South Wales. Lol

GreenComotion said...

Brrrr...not my kinda weather anymore.
Stay warm, Trevor & Ann.
Have a Happy Weekend!
Peace :)

Trevor Woodford said...

@GreenComotion
Thanks Chandra.....Actually this weekend we have a re-run of the 'Beast from the East' . We now have a 'Mini Beast from the East'... This bad weather just keeps on coming!!

Gideon Howe said...

Wow that must have been a frightening time. Sad to hear about your awning but at least you are safe and well. It puts our beast from the east experience in Spain into perspective. I had to wear trousers one day!

Trevor Woodford said...

@Gideon Howe
Funnily enough I found it more scary than I have ever found being in a small backpacking tent in a storm to be.... Probably due to having a large 'sail' attached to the side of the caravan in the form of an awning. Storms without an effected awning are far less stressful....

Trevor Woodford said...

@Gideon Howe
Re my last comment.. 'Effected' should have read as 'Errected'. Blame the predictive text.... .