Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Allow me to describe my day yesterday.  The morning was normal...boring even.  I took Hans to work, I did some work of my own, and I tried to stay cool in the heat and humidity.  Nothing too exciting.  Around 2:00 pm dark clouds started to roll in, and I noticed a bunch of notifications for severe storms about 20 minutes north of here.  It's summer, and it had been a particularly hot day, so this was nothing unusual.  The only reason it really even registered was because I had a 3:00 appointment and severe storms like that also bring on severe headaches.  I was not feeling this appointment.

At 2:30, I was walking out the door, keys in hand, headed off to my appointment when Hans called.  Since he was in the area that the storm was headed I figured it was to give me an update.  The call went as follows:

Hans: Where are you?
Me: About to leave the house.
Hans: Where's your appointment?
Me: The west end.  Why?
Hans: Call them and see if they can move it an hour or two.
Me: Why?
Hans: There's a nasty storm following Interstate 64.  You don't want to drive through it.
Me: How bad?  Should I go to the basement?  Should I get the neighbors' dogs?  (The neighbors weren't home and we watch out for each other.)
Hans: Ummm, yeah.

Since both Hans and I tend to get a little panicky, I decided to check out the radar.  Truth be told, while I looked at the radar, I followed Hans advice more than anything.  I called my client (who confirmed the severity of the storm), ran across the street, put leashes on the neighbors dogs, and started walking them over.  I was in the middle of the road when the winds started to pick up and I heard the low moan of a very bad storm.  I half ran half dragged the dogs into my house.  They're scared of storms and didn't want to leave their own house.  I was in the process of getting everyone downstairs when Hans called again.

Me: Hey!  I'm getting everyone to the baseme-

The call was lost.

I led the neighbor dogs downstairs, ran back up and scooped up Lollie who was hiding in a corner, and called Cody to me. (It didn't take much to get him to me.  He was already following me around.)  I tried getting the cats, but they were hiding under the bed.  I ran downstairs.  I had barely shut the door when the storm hit.  The power went out first.

I was lucky because my phone has a flashlight, and that really came in handy.  I tried calling Hans a few times, but the calls wouldn't go through.  Hans had the brilliant idea of texting me, and that worked for a while.  The last text I got from him said "Be safe.  I love you."  I tried to respond with "I love you too" but it wouldn't go through.  Instead I listened to the storm.

The thunder was loud...really loud, but it was the wind and rain that were the worst.  I heard debris flying around.  The basement started to flood (this is not unusual for our basement, it just doesn't normally happen so quickly).  All the dogs were pacing and trying to climb on top of me.  I held Cody in my arms while the others gathered around me.  We waited for the storm to pass.

After about 10 minutes, I decided it was safe enough to head upstairs.  I left the dogs downstairs as a just in case, but I knew it was safe when I saw the cats had come out from hiding.

I went outside and looked around, and my first thought was that the storm must not have been as bad as I'd thought.  There wasn't nearly as much damage as there was during the tornado two years ago.  Then I went to the front yard.  There wasn't much damage, but a tree from our back yard had a few small limbs in our front yard.  What really got me was that a bird's nest from our back yard had been thrown under my car which was parked on the street in front of our house.

About another 20 minutes later I called my client and decided to head out to her house.  The rest of the day can be called "assessing the damage."  As I drove throughout my neighborhood and through other neighborhoods I saw downed trees, snapped trees, downed power lines, trees on roofs, and even one snapped power line.  Power wasn't back on by dinner time, and since Mom had lost power too we made a plan for her to bring her dogs to our house since it's cooler, and we'd all go out to eat.  All of Richmond must have lost power because everyone was eating out.  Traffic was made even worse by the fact that a good portion of the street lights were out and there were lines getting into gas stations and fast food chains.  We left the house by 6:45 for dinner.  We didn't find a place until 8:00.  Everyone was working hard, but we still weren't able to leave before 10:00 pm.  Thank God, though, when we returned we had power!

The storm left 141,000 people without power.  I was shocked we had it back on so quickly.

This morning I went for a run.  It was more of an adventure run as Cody and I avoided power lines, trees, and debris.  I was again struck by the severity of the storm as I saw up close just how many trees had fallen.  I was shocked at how many roads were closed due to fallen trees and power lines.  It was a good run, but it was hard.

A tornado has yet to be confirmed, but funnel clouds were spotted.  The way trees have fallen, some twisted off, some falling to the right, and others to the left, I'd venture to say there was definitely something bad.  Still, I'm just glad that I'm OK.  I'm even happier that Hans called me because otherwise I would have been in my car when it hit.  I was in my car during the last tornado, and it was not something I ever wanted to relive.  I'm particularly grateful that Hans was OK.  The storm didn't hit him nearly as bad.  Now I just have to clean up the trash in my yard, and this storm will merely be a that will take a while to forget.

I haven't taken my camera out, but this is a picture of the storm traveling over 64.

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