It may not have been a tornado but it sure packed a punch. What appeared at first to be a fairly normal summer storm soon made clear that it's intentions were anything but normal. I'd just picked up the kiddo from day camp and brought her home when the sky darkened. Cecily thought it would be fun if we all sat on the porch to watch the storm. Then there was a noise, a strange hollow noise, like a giant empty barrel rolling toward us from the northwest. "Maybe someone's trashcan blew over," Cecily said. "Sounds too big for a trashcan," I said. Then it hit: hail. Lots of hail. Why don't they ever say "poolball-sized hail"? Because that's what this was. And roaring, flailing wind. So we hauled ass inside, just in time to see the rear door blast open, and the screen to take flight like a scared pigeon and loop around the house, headed for the front yard. Cecily managed to get the back door closed just in time for the hail to blast through one of the four quarter-panes. If you've ever wondered how long it would take to cover your entire kitchen floor in ice cubes, I can tell you: not as long as you'd think. Meanwhile, out front, the neighbor's tree ripped in half, with one part fully blocking our street. Somehow, and I have no idea how, our large sugar maple shed only a few small branches, a rich man sacrificing a few coins to a fountain. What we didn't know, as we raked up the mess, was that by the time the storm ended, it had pounded our little bedroom community into the dirt.
The photos tell the story better than my words can...
A few blocks away, a woman and 4 kids were trapped when a large tree fell on their car. Quick response by the local Fire Dept was able to get everyone out with non-life-threatening injuries. By the way, I find it oddly heartening that so many firemen (and women) smoke.
We're fine. But we lost power, and ended up packing up the family, Beverly Hillbillies style, and spending the night at a hotel. Tori was a real trooper, and willing as she is to embrace anything out of the ordinary as an adventure, she had fun with the whole thing. Besides, she loves road trips, hotels, restaurants, and anyplace where she doesn't have to clean up after herself.
Today I got a chance to survey the damage outside our immediate neighborhood. It was worse than I'd imagined. I found one block where the trees seem to have been twisted apart. Early reports had blamed "straight line winds," but there's now been some speculation that a tornado may indeed have touched down during the storm. The power did eventually return, and even a bit ahead of the utility company's prediction, testament to their round-the-clock efforts.
Thank you to all who opened their homes, offered financial assistance, and lent their moral support. All are greatly appreciated.
We're home now. Tired. And with no edible food in the house (everything in the fridge was a casualty, except one can of Red Bull and one of RockStar). But you know, Dorothy was right. There really is no place like home.