Monday, August 21, 2017

Unpredicted storm

A few minutes after 1 a.m. I was awoken by silence.

In the summer I sleep with two fans and a sound machine so when the electricity went off, the sudden silence woke me as if an alarm had gone off.

Thunder rumbled softly, rain bounced off the driveway and wind caused the windows to rattle. Powerful thunderstorms are not unusual in the Midwest; however, it's rare that one causes power outages.  In the twenty-odd years I've lived in my house, the power has gone out only once, for less than an hour.

I grabbed my cell phone and used the electric company's online form to report the outage, then I tried to go back to sleep. Between the unusual silence in the room, the occasional thunderclap and the  rising temperature in the house, I barely dozed. Instead, I read a book on the iPad. Two hours later when I next checked the outage map on the electric company's website, it was covered with outage notices all across the city—at least 19,000 affected at that point. Oh boy.

It was a sleepless night. The electricity kicked on a couple of minutes after 8 a.m. I had decided one thing -- I wasn't going to attend a family reunion in the afternoon. It's a 90 minute drive, and I had only slept a few hours. I was reaching for the phone to call my brother and let him know when the house phone rang.

"Did you hear the storm last night?" Mica, my best friend asked.

"Are you saying you didn't?"

"I slept through the whole thing!" She hadn't lost electricity either. She would have still been asleep if another friend of ours, Sophie, hadn't called her. "You know the big tree in Sophie's front yard? It blew over and is blocking the driveway. The house is OK but she can't get out." Sophie has a family member in the hospital and needs to be able to leave if needed. "She asked if you could go over and take pictures for the insurance claim. She wants to go ahead and call a tree service to get it cleared off the driveway."

I dressed and grabbed my camera, a bow saw, branch clippers and a pair of leather work gloves, and was on my way in a short time. The route across town was tricky in spots where limbs, or in some cases whole trees, had fallen into the street. I went by one pickup parked on the street next to tree. The tree had split in two and half of it had fallen on the vehicle. A limb was through the windshield. Every yard was covered with leaves, twigs and branches of all sizes. Several sets of traffic lights were dark. Fortunately there weren't many cars on the streets yet.

I took the pictures Sophie needed. As neighbors walked over with chainsaws, Mica and I took rakes and lawn sacks to the back yard. We raked up a ton of twigs and leaves. By the time we finished, half of the driveway was cleared. Mica and I ran and bought doughnuts and bottled water for everyone. We hung around with Sophie until the owner of one of the tree services she had called stopped by. He lives outside of the city, out of the path of the storm, and didn't know anything had happened until he woke up and saw that his cell phone voicemail was full.

It certainly wasn't the Sunday any of us had expected to have, but everything turned out OK.


Post a Comment

Search This Blog

Powered by Blogger.