Thursday, May 5, 2011

It had already been a strange day to begin with...

This is a post for Studio30plus weekly challenge.  This week's prompt is 'The Storm'.  If you're over 30 and not already a member, I encourage you to go check it out.

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It had already been an odd day, June 23rd.  That was when we had the earthquake.  It was at some point in the early afternoon that the computer screen in front of me began to waver.  I wondered if I was having some kind of spell.  Dizzy, I tried to focus but the screen kept swaying.

After a few seconds, my co-worker calls over from the next cubicle "Is it me, or are we shaking?"

You see, we inhabit a pretty sturdy chunk of the Canadian shield.  Discernable earthquakes are not an everyday occurrence.

So it had already been an exciting day.

I left work to go weigh in and get some groceries.  While in the RCSS, I noticed the sky had darkened and rain had began to fall.  I cursed as I remembered the windows I had left wide open as a result of the days earlier warmth.  Rushing out with my groceries in tow, I found myself struggling against the wind to get to the far end of the parking lot where I had left the car.  I had been 'adding more steps to my day' as they encouraged us in the Weight Watcher meetings.  

Approaching the car the wind gained more speed and the sky opened up.  Veritable buckets of water fell from the sky as I hastened to get my groceries into the car although I could barely see.  Water sluiced down my face and glasses, distorting my sight.  Back in the car, I was unable to even wipe my glasses dry as my clothing was absolutely soaked.  I rummaged for an old napkin, which nicely did the trick.  Water squished in my shoes.

Arriving at the ex-hubster's place to pick up the girls, I grumbled impatiently at them, admonishing them not to dawdle, as I was still drenched and by this time, quite cranky.  The ex and I made small talk about the storm's ferocity, but being on south end of town we did not yet realize how serious the situation was.

Driving up the main drag to head home, traffic was unusually slow.  Under an eerily calm purple-pink sky, residents were leaving their homes and walking, dumbfounded up King Street towards Highway 12.  Confused as to why the mass exodus, I grumbled while I sat in the traffic that was so uncharacteristic of our little town.

Phone.

Normally I don't answer the phone in the car, but since I had been at pretty much a full-stop for the last five minutes, I figured what the hell?

"'yeeello."
"Where are you?"
"Hey Dan.  I'm on King, heading home. Why?"
"Turn around if you can and come to our place.  12 is closed.  You're not getting home anytime soon.  Tornado struck down."

Whole.  Leigh.  Shit.   Come again?

"uhh, okay.  Sounds good.  See you soon."

The mass exodus turned out to be hundreds of people who were in the vicinity when the funnel touched down on the north end of town and cut a swath through a chunk of farmland, most of our industrial district and in true cliche form, the local mobile home park.

Source
Arriving with the ladies at the home of Sean and Dan, where my other friend Kaylee had already arrived, we were greeted and informed that power was out all over, but cellular networks were still intact.  We sent the children upstairs to play and for a while we all made attempts to call or text loved ones to check in with them or warn those in the tornado's path.  I got in touch with my dad who informed me that other than a small downpour, the weather near our place had been uneventful.  My mother was away visiting my grandmother but promised to stay put until the warning was lifted.  I made numerous attempts to contact the then-boyfriend but the storm had knocked his phone out.

I realized I was still in sopping wet clothes, so I borrowed some clothes from the Danno, him being the obvious choice as at the time I had about 50 lbs on Sean.  As friends were assured, families contacted and stomachs were starting to growl.  When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and when in Canada during a natural disaster that knocks out the power, you do as Canadians do best.  Barbecue and Beer.
We should be in a beer commercial
Driving home that night as night fell and the clouds still hung low in the sky I took the back roads, as the radios were advising people to stay home and off the roads (sometimes i have a problem with authority).  The main highway was still closed.  I was tense as each time the rain started to fall I would scan the horizon for funnels, white knuckled on the steering wheel.

Down one concession the rain fell harder, and I hit a stretch of road littered with leaves and branches.  Along the ditches fallen power lines hung in trees, and I could where the funnel had cut through the brush and across the road.  Ahead in the dark, two figures ran through the rain.  In my hurry to get home to my house (at 105 years old, no storm could take it out) I drove on, but after about 200 meters I turned around to see if the runners needed a ride somewhere.  They were no where to be found.

At home, I was amazed to find that in spite of the destruction that occurred a mere few kilometres away, at my own home, rakes that were left beside the shed stood, completely untouched.  

7 comments:

  1. When in Canada... and when in Minnesota as well. You know, the ol' "Well! While we're all here, huh? Who's hungry?!"

    Glad you were unharmed, and those you love. Outside of the destruction and the fear, it's amazing how the horrible storms -- and nature in general -- remind us of our humanity...

    Pearl

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  2. wow...glad you all found a silver lining in some of that. scary.

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  3. Easy for me to find a silver lining. From what I understand some of the people who lost homes are still waiting for aid. The ball really got dropped.

    I heard a story that one of the businesses that got hit were celebrating their grand opening under new ownership that day.. can you imagine? First day and your business gets taken out?

    Course they used the disaster as part of their marketing plan ('look what deals just blew in!') and the repairs they were going to have to do to the main building ended up being covered by insurance.

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  4. When was this? Because the same thing happened (way down) here two weeks ago.

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  5. Great story. It's hard for me to imagine as we don't have anything like that kind of weather here.

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