Wednesday, September 14, 2005

it's no katrina but….

we had a massive thunder storm here last night (tuesday).

we just happened to have some friends of our over for dinner whom we hadn’t seen in forever. they drove quite a way to see us and ended up spending some time with us down in the basement!

it rained like i have never seen it rain before. the wind was unbelievable. they say it was between 60 and 70 miles per hour which is comparable to the wind of a mild hurricane. it looked just like those winds that they send those poor news anchors out into. we saw an electrical box explode right outside of our front window. then live wires were swinging all over throwing sparks into the air. i picked up the little dude and told everyone to head for the basement. we weren’t sure exactly what was happening since we had no power and it was already dark outside. so we spent about 15-20 minutes down there after the explosion. then it started to ease up.

we headed upstairs. by this time the fire trucks and police vehicles were already all outside our house. there were people lining the streets. we talked to some neighbors for awhile and got the scoop on what everyone knew. we heard stories of trees through rooftops throughout out little town. by this time it was about 8:00 and very dark since there was no power to the street lights.

we decided to walk our main street (on which we live) to see the damage that was being described. we got the stroller and put the little dude in it. i can only imagine what was going through his little mind! “a walk….at night….cool!” he must have thought we were crazy treking through the soaked and branch covered sidewalks.

we only made it about ½ block before seeing the first tree victim. the house on the corner had a majority of a large old tree on top of their roof and leaning against the side of their house. luckily i think it was just cosmetic damage. i didn’t see any actual holes in the roof. then about another ½ block down there was a girl standing outside talking on her cell phone while both of her cars were buried by trees. she didn’t have a camera to take photos of the damage and we just so happened to have ours along, so we let her borrow it. i burned a cd of the images for her and took it over to her this morning. there were many other large branches broken along the way as well as tons of leaves and smaller branches to clean up. we heard that there was another large tree uprooted about a block away from our house in the other direction. we never made it that way to check it out.

so the fire trucks and crew were outside of our house until 2:00 in the morning….with their flashing red lights spinning in circles on our bedroom walls…..and their chainsaws…. just before they left, our power came on. (which was a blessing because we were in desperate need of our room air conditioner and our ceiling fan)

we still didn’t have much of an idea of the damage that had been done because our cable still wasn’t working this morning. finally at about 8:30 a.m. it came back on and i was able to tune into the local news to see what had happened. it didn’t sound like there were any tornados, just crazy, crazy damaging wind. they said this is the 2nd biggest power outage wisconsin has ever had.

it turns out the explosion of the electrical box was caused by the neighbor’s tree snapping and breaking the top of the pole off along with all the wires.

we were actually out of power again tonight for a couple hours when they were trying to fix the power for everyone else. you don’t realize how horrible it is without power until it happens. it sucks. we are so reliant on t.v. and computers these days that even a few hours without them seems like torture. we’re actually still missing cable as i write this. it went out when the power went out for those couple hours. so i’ll hopefully be posting this when it comes back up.

there are still many, many people without power. tons of schools were closed today because they had no power. it’s expected that the kids will probably have tomorrow off too. our estimated time for having power back to the entire down isn’t until tomorrow at midnight. (thursday night/friday morning). part of the delay is that our crews are very limited because many are helping with the relief efforts in the south. i really hope the power comes back sooner than that for those still without. one of our neighbors is actually borrowing power from us just to run their freezer so that all of their food doesn’t go bad.

i feel bad even mentioning our “problems” with the devastation that is the south right now. we are by no means in a comparable situation. going through the few hours of disconnection from the outside world really makes me appreciate how much they must be going through down there. my heart goes out to all that are affected.

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