High winds wreak havoc on south Anchorage
"We had a huge windstorm and power outage a few years back," said Tan Schmidt. "The neighborhood came together and did a community cleanup. For us we didn't have any structure damage like this."
Schmidt is looking at a hole in his living room where a picture once was. Inside the hole is a tree from his neighbors' yard that was toppled over onto his home by the high winds in the area.
The damage, Schmidt said, is even more extensive than it looks.
"It appears the tree hit a stud when it hit the house," Schmidt said. "There is pressure all the way to the roof line. I mean, all the way to the roof to the side of the home to me has to be repaired. The vapor barrier is broken through. So we have exterior elements that can come in."
Besides the damage to Schmidt's home, his wooden fence and gate are smashed and will need replacing. His neighbor across the street will need a full new roof replacement and his next door neighbor will work on clearing out two full-size trees. Every street in the south Anchorage neighborhood seemed to have a tree down or some sort of damage.
The same happened in parts of west Anchorage, where Vince Vigesaa was taking a nap when he heard a knock at his door.
"I come walking out and answer the door and it was one of the neighborhood kids," Vigesaa said. "They said, 'You might want to take a look at this' -- and as soon as I opened the door, I (had) seen the truck."
Vigesaa went back inside his home to rehash what he just saw.
"I kind of had to do a double-take," Vigesaa said. "My truck was under the tree. The whole tree was nearly down and in all directions. Wasn't something I was prepared to see happen."
Vigesaa said the tree fell around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. At around the same time, on the other side of town, more trees were being snapped in half and pulled out of the ground. Darin Colbry, who lives near Leeward Place, noticed his neighbors' tree fighting the wind to stay upright.
"I seen it like around 2:30 or 3:00; it was up, the whole tree," Colbry said. "The next thing I know around 4:30 it was gone -- half of it was gone."
The top of the majestic tree was tossed into the driveway and slammed into a parked truck. The next half of the tree landed on the homeowners' front porch in a vertical position, smashing the bottom step and standing upright as if waiting to be let in the house.
"I haven't seen damage like that before," Colbry said. "I've lived in this neighborhood since 1983. These winds are the strongest I think I've seen."
The communities affected by the windstorm will now band together and begin the task of cleaning up.
"I've got great neighbors that came over and helped and we bucked this thing up," Vigesaa said. "I'm glad no one was hurt and grateful it wasn't my wife's vehicle that was hit. I guess now we have more wood for campfires."
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