Sunday, August 21, 2016
The Tornado of 2016
THGGM and I pondered doing a few things around the Holland area before we headed home, but the sky was looking a bit ominous and THGGM was hoping to get the lawn mowed before it rained.
By 2:00 in the afternoon we were in our basement watching the news of the path of the tornado heading directly toward us. The storm trackers were saying that it should hit Wyoming at 2:45. The tornado sirens were blaring.
From our safe place in the basement we could see out a small window facing south. The TV went out. The wi-fi went out. The lights went out. It was horribly dark in the basement, our car wasn't entirely unpacked yet. Both of our phones needed charging.
I could see the tree out the window swaying in weird ways. Then very suddenly the tree held still. Next we heard a loud crash. The tree started swaying again, We waited for a few minutes before heading upstairs.
Neighbors were already milling around picking up leafy branches and checking to see how others had fared.
We lost most of a tree in our backyard, but it has been a dying tree since we moved here nine years ago. It missed both our shed, garage and house, and is lying like it was carefully placed straight down the center of our yard.
Just a few short blocks away the damage was profound. Of course, we had no power to find anything out, but neighbors passing by spread the word. Byron Center and 36th took a hard hit, and from there it swept across 28th St. throwing trees around like tinker toys in the wind. The center of the Wyoming Park neighborhood is still impassable this morning. Pinery Park lost an astounding amount of trees. From there it seemed to lose strength after taking out a large tree at Lee High School.
Our power came back on at 9:30 last night. It's a good thing, as we are not lit candle people. Since we had just arrived back from a weeks vacation, we had nothing to eat in our house. THGGM drove around looking for a drive-through window that didn't have a long line snaking around the building. He finally found one at the Wendy's near Gezon and Byron Center Ave. By that time it was dark and I had candles burning in the living room. He took out the food and unthinkingly threw the bag directly onto the large candle in the center of the table - the kind with three wicks. Was anything learned because of this? Apparently not, as just a few minutes and a slight heart attack later, I asked if their were forks and he threw me one - right across the same open flame! Five minutes after that, the power came back on.
Thankfully, no one has reported any injuries from these tornadoes. That is truly shocking, after seeing the profound damage at places that are generally filled with people on a Saturday afternoon in August.
So, now we are scrambling to get caught up on everything before things around here get back to normal tomorrow.
Our vacation was lovely. There will be more pictures. But any feelings of relaxation we achieved from last week seem to have swirled away with the tornado and this morning's sounds of not so distant chain-saws.