Compositology News
July 1, 2011 Storm Damage Compositology’s CTO Property
6 years ago Posted in: Compositology News 0

On the evening of July 1st, a fast moving thunderstorm and high wind storm moved through Central Minnesota and Wisconsin into the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  At approximately 7:30 PM, the storm hit the property of Shane O’Neill, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Compositology LLC.  It had been a hot day, around 96 F with high humidity.  We had just finished dinner, and my wife was on the phone with her father in Maine.  As the sky became very dark and the wind picked up, I went out our covered screen room to see how much weather we were going to get.  In minutes, the trees were not just blowing in the wind, but actually laying horizontal to the wind.  Once I started to hear big things cracking and crashing (not just little branches, but whole trees), I knew it was time to move.  I slid open the door and sternly repeated GET IN THE BASEMENT NOW.  By my tone and tenor, my wife knew I was serious.  After grabbing the dogs, we dragged everyone down to the basement.  Once the noise abated, we realized how lucky we were.

Damage Assessment

The House:

  • Other than a couple screens which have disappeared and a cracked window, the only damage was the television aerial.  According to the National Weather Service, localized winds were in excess of 90 mph.  I can believe it, after seeing the trees laying flat down as the storm hit.  I know those tri-mounts are pretty sturdy, so the wind was definitely moving.  Our property sits about 1 mile away from a ridge, and it appears that the wind came along the valley, hit that ridge, bounced up and landed on us, as there is massive damage in the valley, then nothing, then our damage.  Very weird how the wind worked like that.  The only reason the NWS isn’t calling this a tornado is because it lacked rotation.

The Garage:

  • The garage didn’t fair as well.  The wind peeled off the soffit flashing and trim on the edge taking the brunt of the wind, and several three tab shingles were snapped off.  However, there was no penetrations to the roof, so the damage is limited to a resurfacing.  But all in all, pretty minimal.

The Barn:

  • Unfortunately, the barn did not fair as well.
  • The western face of the roof section collapsed due to the load, and into the hayloft floor below.
  • Fortunately, all that was in there were some odds & ends and hay for the chickens.
  • Hard to say if it is economically feasible to fix, or just as easy to level and replace.
  • The silo is concrete, and didn’t move at all.

The Chickens:

  • The next morning, Danielle went out to see if we still had chickens, and was calling to them as she was taking pictures of the barn.  None of them had come out to her calls, but as she was closer to the coop, she heard clucking.
  • The wind had not only closed the coop door (about 8″ x 6″ in size), but actually LATCHED the eye hook closed.
  • All of the chickens survived unscathed, and no damage to the coop.

The Property:

  • The property itself is a square 5 acre lot, with thick tree lines on the western and northern perimeter.  A few trees also dot the property, along with a short row of willows on the eastern edge for noise abatement (highway traffic).
  • Overall, there are 8-10 trees down on the property.   Two of those collapsed the dog yard fence.
  • Several are damaged enough where they will have to also come down, including an oak tree in the center of the lot probably original to the 1910 homestead.

Remnants of tree snapped off next to outdoor boiler



Tree along northern boundary

Top of tree next to outdoor boiler

Damaged Oak and Apple Trees

Damaged tree on western boundary

western treeline opened up

Trees on dogyard fence

Other Info:

  • Power and running water were off for 94 hours due to the severity and extent of damage in our service area.  Over 36,000 homes were without power at the start, and by the 3rd, the power was restored to all but 6,500.   In our area, there were half a dozen downed poles and lines across the road, so those guys earned their paychecks this week!
  • Due to their being two storms (the 1st and the 3rd both had rain), and no power, there was some water in the basement.  Once the power was restored, the sump pump ran for a few hours and everything is drying out.
  • All things considered, we are pretty lucky that the damage was not worse.
  • Most importantly, no one was hurt at our home.  An 11 year old girl was killed in Grantsburg due to this storm, and that is not replaceable.
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