So... there I was... sitting under the awning enjoying a cigar and a post-evening-meal whiskey in the early evening, say around 1815 hours. The weather was kinda gray but not at all threatening and sitting as I was, which is to say looking off to the southwest, I was completely oblivious to the maelstrom that was sneaking up from the northeast, directly behind the RV... and me. And then it hit me, almost literally, in the form of an orange-brown sky and a particularly violent gust of wind. "Uh-oh," thinks I, and I get up and peek around the RV and see DOOM bearing down on me... and rapidly, at that. I VERY quickly jumped up, unfastened the awning deflapper closest to me, lowered the awning strut, and quick like a bunny moved to the other side of the awning to do the same. Done. I then flipped the ratchet lever to retract the awning and... the ratchet jammed. The wind howled. I fought the ratchet lever... and nothing. The awning is still half-way down and the wind is increasing in intensity.
A neighbor appears out of nowhere and asks "Do you need help?" I respond that the ratchet is jammed and we both try to free it. Nothing, still. The neighbor goes to the other side of the awning and grabs the strut as a particularly violent gust catches the awning and nearly rips it off the side of the RV. But that intense gust and the resulting awning excursion apparently freed the jammed ratchet and we were able to let the awning retract to its stowed position. I breathed a sigh of relief, the neighbor sez "you lucked out!" and I agreed. I dodged about a one-thousand-Yankee-Dollar bullet there. And the storm had not yet reached full intensity... we were just feeling the leading edge of it.
So, after catching my breath and saying a few quiet "Thank-Yous" to The Deity at Hand I went inside and fetched the MinoHD to record this:
The video will eventually be available in HD (in about an hour from posting time), and viewing the vid in full-screen HD will be the best way to get the full effect. This was literally the absolute WORST wind storm I've ever seen since I've been in P-Ville. All my neighbors agree, as we had a middle-of-the-street consultation and an "are you OK?" session about an hour after the worst had passed.
Embryonic Mammatus clouds! And a post-storm view of P-Ville.
Update, later that same day (evening):
The image is a screen-cap from Weather Underground (click for larger). Note the wind speed and wind gust values. It looks like my neighbor Chris' brother was right on the money: Gusts of 69 mph. 58 mph steady winds ain't no slouch in the Wind Dept, either.