Powerful storms, including 8 confirmed tornadoes, ripped through our area in the early morning hours on Tuesday 11-6-18. At 1:23 am the ‘take shelter’ alert went off on our cell phones, but sadly we both slept right through it. About 1:45 I woke to the sound of driving rain and wind, it sounded as if the house was coming apart; it didn’t and I eventually went back to bed. I got up to take the dogs out around 6 am only to find the power was out, not too big a deal with our solar backups, but those were running pretty low as sun has been very scarce here lately. The ground was covered with wet leaves and a few small branches, but no damage that I could see; shingles all intact, we were no worse for wear. At this point I really didn’t realize what had happened. Picking up my cell I now see the alert that we missed hours ago and there was a message from the Sheriffs Dept. – all roads in or out of my area are closed. We had clearly had dodged a bullet.
The damage was significant, but somehow we were untouched. Less than 1/2 a mile away a home had a tree on top of it, the roads were littered with debris and unsafe for travel, large trees ripped out by the roots and utility poles had been snapped like toothpicks. Power was out across the entire County and would remain so for quite some time; stores were all closed and the closest operating gas station was over 30 miles away. It was going to be a long day.
I have to stop here and say thank you to all the volunteers that immediately went to work. Locals on 4 wheelers armed with chainsaws led the cleanup long before State and County workers arrived. The power crews went to work, Sheriffs Deputies keep the lookie-loos at bay and locals began picking up the pieces. Fortunately no one was killed in this outbreak, but one woman was killed in an area farther north by a separate tornado.
Tragic events like this make you reflect on what happened, what could have happened and how could we better prepare for such events. How long could we have survived without a visit to the grocery store or gas station? We have been preparing for years; stocking food, water, batteries and of course our off grid solar, but you never know how ready you really are until something actually happens. We were very blessed to have been spared from the devastation that others faced; we were fortunate, others were not.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.