Yesterday, I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of the hockey rink, reading the paper and waiting for Josie's practice to be over, when my phone began screaming at me.
The sound was like a cross between the stunningly-loud screech of our house burglar alarm and the sound of a person coming face to face with a shark in the ocean.
It was so loud and so awful that I could barely lift the phone up to make the sound stop but when I did, I was shocked to see that the sound was accompanied by a warning that there was a tornado watch in our town for the next 30 minutes.
And that's when I noticed the storm clouds.
I called Henry (the only person home) and told him to go to the basement pronto. Then I went into the ice rink (relax, the practice was over, Gordy) to get Josie. I didn't exactly want to rush home and into eye of a hurricane, but I also didn't want Henry to be alone either.
Josie and I made it about half-way home when the rain began. These weren't passing showers but the hardest, heaviest, windiest rain I've ever seen. I had to pull over once because I couldn't see, but I started driving almost immediately since lightning was striking left and right and I didn't want to be in the car when a tree fell on top of it!
It was around this moment that Henry called to tell us that the electricity had gone off. As we made our way into our town, we were passed by about six fire trucks and two ambulances rushing off in the opposite direction. The rain was slowing down, but tree branches were all over and I was guessing it would be many hours before the power was restored.
At the top of our street, I realized why that electricity had gone off in the first place. A gorgeous, old Horse Chestnut tree was split in half and lying across the road. Two teenage girls were outside the house, on cell phones, with panicked looks on their faces and I slowed down and asked if they were ok. That's when they told me that there was another tree down, half a block further down the road that was blocking the road completely. There were electrical wires every where.
Josie and I were able to turn on our street and rush home. It had started raining again and another tornado warning came from my phone. We raced to get the garage door manually open and get the car into the garage. Then we joined Henry in the dark basement and found the crank radio to listen to the news.
This was all so foreign to us - we don't, after all, live in Kansas. Tornadoes are hardly a part of our daily lives here in Massachusetts.
We watched the rain start up again and the winds, but this final part of the storm didn't last too long. Eventually the rain stopped and the sun came out. We ate sandwiches for dinner and then walked down one end of our street's loop to see the carnage.
I didn't think to bring my camera (it looked like it was going to rain again), but I got two photos using my cell phone. That first one is the tree that was hit by lightening (the one in front of the teenage girls' house) - you could see the scorch marks where the lightening split the tree in two. The second photo is of the other tree, ripped from the ground and all the fallen electrical lines and mayhem.
It seemed like the whole neighborhood was out. Obviously the road was closed, so more than a few people remarked that Mother Nature had given us a block party. It didn't feel like a celebration, though.
Our electricity went back on a few hours later - how the power company managed this, I don't have any idea. We were grateful for the light and the hot water the power provides, that's for sure. The electricity went off again this morning and I wouldn't be surprised if service is spotty for the next few days while they work out all the kinks.
Our house is fine, thankfully, and our trees are still upright. The only casualty of the storm is my garage door that broke while we were pulling it down last night. I guess you could say my car is a casualty as well since it's currently being held captive in our garage. If you are wondering how I will spend my afternoon today, the answer is: waiting for the garage door technician to arrive.
I was listening to the news this morning and NPR said that while the National Weather Service is not entirely ready to call what happened in our town a tornado, they are investigating and the phrase "severe wind incident" was mentioned. Our town also has the dubious distinction of having the most power outages in the state! Wooo!