My town/state/part of the country was hit pretty hard by several tornados and macrobursts a little over a month ago.
What is a macroburst, you ask? Heck if I know. Let’s ask the Interweb, shall we?
A strong downdraft, of over 2.5 miles in diameter, that can cause damaging winds.
The words “tornado” and “macroburst” were not ever a part of our vocabulary in these parts. We are more accustomed to words like “nor’easter” and “blizzard.” Pretty benign in the scheme of all things weather.
So, when we were suddenly warned of a tornado in our area I didn’t take heed as I probably should have. I left the office too late, but yet not early enough. If you know what I mean.
I don’t know tornados. So, I just kept thinking, “how different can it be from a snowstorm?” You know, without the snow.
For the record, it’s a lot different from a snowstorm.
When I finally had the wherewithal to leave the office, I was met with marble sized hail hitting me in the face. By the time I got to my car, I looked and felt like a wet dog. Can’t tell you if I did or didn’t smell like one. I’m hoping for the latter.
As I made my way out of the parking lot, an emergency broadcast announcement came on the radio that said there was a tornado spotted in the area and to seek shelter immediately.
Seriously? A tornado? We don’t get tornados. And kept driving. Luckily the tornado was ahead of me, so by the time I got near my exit, it was a thing of the past.
Trees and power lines were snapped in half like pencils and scattered everywhere like a game of Pixie Sticks gone awry. Traffic suddenly got backed up as people were trying to maneuver their cars around all the debris in the roads.
After sitting in my car for what seemed to be an eternity and daydreaming of a bathroom (even a nice woods would have done the trick except they all came down with the tornado), I was able to get within a mile of my street. The only problem was, I couldn’t get any closer. Every road was blocked by trees.
I did have a water bottle. You know, those single Poland Spring ones. The problem is I don’t quite have the anatomy to make it work. Being a man truly would have come in handy at that moment.
But alas. A man I am not.
After turning around multiple times and cursing those ten glasses of water, I was able to get to the house of a friend of mine.
After doing what seemed like 55 mph up her driveway, I slammed on her door with the back of my fist while screaming her name.
No one was home, of course. Except their cute dog. Who thought it was playtime and ran to get his toy. Unfortunately for him, there was a solid door between us so no playtime was in his future. I do have to say, I was wishing dogs were granted thumbs so he could reach up and turn the door handle for me.
It was then that I made the executive decision to use the backyard as a facility. I dropped my drawers and felt the relief run onto the grass. I didn’t even care if anyone saw. That expression, “desperate times call for desperate measures” could not have been any more true at that moment.
A little wiggle and a shake and I was on my way to going home.
Except I couldn’t get there.The closest place I could park was at our local high school which is a mile and a half from my house. That isn’t bad on a normal day, but there were trees to be scaled, mud and water puddles to jump over, and power lines to be avoided.
I am Wonder Woman about as much as I am a man. The last time I really exercised, I tore a meniscus, so let’s just say the shape of me is less than ideal.
But, with my big black umbrella, oversized fake Louis Vuitton bag, and work clothes, I started on my way on foot anyway.
I walked through those mud and rain puddles, climbed over those downed tree limbs, hopped over those power lines. All while the sounds of emergency vehicle sirens, chainsaws, and generators filled the air.
I have to say I was pretty proud of myself. I got really far. Until I couldn’t. A nice man let me walk through his woods that led to my street. In retrospect, walking through woods that just took a beating by Mother Nature probably wasn’t a good idea. Apparently, I didn’t care.
In no time at all, I was on my street. So, with water squishing between my toes and mud up to my knees, I made it home.
My neighbors who had already gathered to cut down the trees blocking the road referred to me as “Mary Poppins.”
Except I didn’t have the ability to fly. And I wasn’t singing “super-cali-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docious.”
Mainly because I don’t know all the words.
Sadly, two people lost their lives during the storm. What amazes me is that there weren’t more fatalities.
It’s times like these where you really feel the love and unity of people in and outside of your community. We are always so busy with our lives, and divided in these tumultuous political times, but when it comes down to it, we are there for each other. Irregardless of our beliefs or lifestyles.
People getting together to help out a neighbor in trouble, opening homes to strangers who couldn’t get to their own home, giving rides to those whose cars were stuck elsewhere, emergency workers from all over the country coming to help.
I love my little town, and am so proud to be part of a community filled with people you can count on.
But no more tornados, please. I think I’d rather stick with snow.