I have just emerged from a 13-14 hour city wide power outage that was caused when a tornado hit the town I am in. Actually, there were a couple close calls which qualifies it for the topic of this blog post.
Early this afternoon, a couple towns near us were hit with tornadoes. Even now, having not had access to the outside world, I am not sure how bad things are around us. I was finishing a late lunch down at the pub where I had been helping them with their computer when an alert sounded that something was headed our way. I finished the lunch and said, ok, think I will scoot home while there was time.
Apparently, I didn’t have as much time as I thought. By the time I got outside it was just starting to rain. I probably should’ve known my timing was off when I stepped outside – middle of downtown – and not a car or person was in sight. A bit like stepping into the scene of a Clint Eastwood western. By the time I drove three blocks, it had starting hailing knuckle size hail and visibility was such that I couldn’t see the end of my vehicle let alone anyone else. The wind was literally gale force strength and the truck was swaying even as I was driving.
I thought, this isn’t good. (I have a knack for understatement). I didn’t like being caught into the open and not being able to see… I could hit someone or drive straight into the tornado itself for all I know. Just 3 blocks from the pub, I turned around and went back. They had lost all their power by this point and when they saw me pull back up., they got their door open as I raced through the hail to get back inside. I almost lost my auto door trying to get out.
Turns out, they didn’t have power – nor did the entire city – because a tornado wiped out one of the main transformer stations in town. It also hit one of the local high schools and a roller rink. I don’t know what else was done because I’ve been living by candle light until few moments ago.
Driving back to the neighborhood, I knew we were in for something because whole yards – yeah, just the grass – were strewn across the roads. I passed one business that use to have a nice lawn and it is just a mud hole now. Trees were down and streets flooded. Our neighborhood looked like a debris field with all the limbs, trash, and outside furniture strewn everywhere.
House across the street will need new roofing as theirs was peeled back but we came out ok. Our main casualty was the mail box. Not the post into the ground but the box itself. It was ripped completely out somehow. I found the lid to it about 2 doors up. The rest went airborne and landed the next country over for all I can tell. Things cleaned up, I settled in for a evening of nothingness.
No power means no tv, internet, music etc. I’ve done it before – for periods lots longer – and in some ways it is a stark reminder of what we take for granted. You realize how different things must’ve been a 100 years ago or even now in places where people are cut off from necessities and surviving on what they must. I never get over the fact of how isolated one suddenly becomes. I can’t tell you a single thing that went on around planet Earth today after lunch time. I have no clue. I am also amazed by my ability to constantly reach for the light switch when I walk into a room even though I know there is no power.
I grew up with tornadoes and I know that with climate change, storms are going to keep getting more and more severe when they occur. Still, I’d rather be listening about them on network news than having a conversation about them in candle light.