That is if you live in Nederland. Today is one of those famous down sloping, super windy days in Nederland, when it feels like the house may literally come apart. It was something we didn’t know about Nederland when we first moved here, but quickly found out. In fact, even before we moved in, friends or ours who had lived here told us. The conversation went something like this:
“We’re moving to Nederland.”
“Oh, it’s really windy there.”
I just took the comments in stride — how windy could it be? We soon found out — six weeks after we moved in during the month of September, the winds picked up. We woke up out of a sound sleep one night from the sounds of the wind punishing the house, and the creaking of the logs. As we got up to look out the huge windows facing west, we could see 80-foot pine trees bowing in the wind, heaving back and forth like ships being tossed around on the sea. It was hard to sleep as I kept thinking the house would start losing pieces and come apart at any moment. The only thought that reassured me was remembering the house was 20 years old and it had seen its share of windy days over that time, and had survived. I’ve never been in a hurricane, but I can say definitively, this is the windiest place I have ever lived.
Today is one of those windy Nederland days — the Weather Service forecasted high wind warnings all along the foothills and Continental Divide through tonight, and they were right. Already, we have had 86 mph gusts along our road, measured by our neighbor’s weather station. Since we live on a ridge, we catch the full force of the winds as they zoom down off the tops of the nearby Indian Peaks. It’s no coincidence that one of the roads nearby is named Hurricane Hill, which aptly lives up to its name. Hurricane force winds are 74 mph and greater, and we regularly exceed that during the winter months.
The winds have taken its toll on our belongings. The first year we lived here, we had some of those plastic Adirondack chairs on our deck. They were no match for the winds, as they got tossed off the deck and smashed into bits on the hillside. One day I arrived home from work to find our barbecue sitting upside down in our driveway. I’ve also found snow shovels down the road and in the woods. We’ve gotten wise now, and remove all potential flying objects off the deck and into the crawl space at the end of summer. We tether our barbecue and snow shovels with bungee cords to keep them from becoming projectiles.
It’s difficult to drive and to walk during these windy days, as branches, snow and dirt are flying everywhere. When I take the dogs out, I fear for my safety, feeling that one of those large pines or firs may come crashing down on my head at any moment. Even the dogs seem frightened as they slink close to the ground, glance up at the trees, and quickly retreat back to the house. The winds whip the snow into cement-like drifts of snow across our front porch, in our driveway and on the road, and as I walk through them, I find myself sinking in up to my knees.
Now going on our fifth Nederland winter, we know to expect the winds and what to do to prepare. I also know the best thing to do is hunker down inside and wait for them to subside. Like many things in life, even the winds of Nederland eventually pass.