Last Month's Storm

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

On May 8th, we had the worst storm I hope never to experience again. The day started out with a tornado watch (hardly a big deal around here). I was in Louie's class attending a Mother's Day party when they announce the storm was coming and that they were going to lock down the school. I remembered I'd left the windows open, so I quickly decided to pick up all the girls and go home before the storm hit.

View down our street

The first wave of the storm was simply rain, rain, and rain. The news reports say we got between 4-5 inches of rain in about an hour. We had a break in the storm, for about an hour. Then the wind came. For more than 20 minutes, we had sustained winds between 70-100 MPH. When the power went out, I gave the girls flashlights and they played in the windowless, basement toy room, while I stupidly stood by the window to watch our trees snap or uproot entirely and debris fly about the back yard. At one point, our patio umbrella flew up about 3 feet from where I'd laid it on the table, and I tucked it under the metal table to keep it from smashing the french doors. I was soaking wet, but too panicked to care.

Our mailbox

As soon as the storm let up, James came home to check on the damage. We lost more than a dozen trees, but the only damage to our house was one screen flew off a window and ripped.

Our ponderosa pines completely uprooted

I piled the kids into the car and drove to town immediately--I knew we'd be without power for a while, and I had just stocked the freezer! I got to town and saw that all of Carbondale was a mess. Nobody had electricity. I got the second-to-last generator Lowes had in stock and a chainsaw that I figured would get lots of use. Unfortunately, I couldn't buy gas anywhere. The storm had hit all of the towns in our vicinity. Everywhere I went there were lines of cars hoping for gas, but without power, the pumps wouldn't work.

Powerlines were down everywhere

The next morning, I learned that Anna, a town about 30 minutes south of us, had power. There were gas lines, but it was nice to be able to fill up the gas cans and the kids learned that McDonald's has pancakes (so exciting!) as we ate breakfast out.

Altogether, we had no power for a week, and no cable-tv-internet for 2.5 weeks. We're still working to clean up the trees, but considering that other people lost entire houses, we got off easy.

The tree service originally wanted
$6k to remove this tree
James talked them down to $400 cash

"The Storm" is a part of everyday talk around here. The area is seeking federal disaster assistance and many still haven't recovered from it. This comma shaped storm is officially called a "derecho", Spanish for straight, but it had at least 8 documented tornadoes in it. Amazingly, only 2 people died from the storm.

For more information about "The Storm," including some amazing (admittedly geeky) satellite images, check this blog.


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