Friday, June 3, 2011

Tornado Thoughts (A Break From the Nerdy)

The other night was special for the F's bro Michael...he received a scholarship from the Elk's lodge here in town, and we all went to the reception to cheer him on. It just so happened the guest speaker was Huntsville's Mayor! And his little speech got me back thinking about those tornadoes a month ago.


From the Huntsville Times
 Now, I have had some first hand experience with my own natural disaster back in 2006, and my grandparents shared stories of the Cedar Rapids flood, but the tornadoes here were something different; something I really had never experienced before. So, here are some of my thoughts, 1+ months later.

The first night the tornado went through was very chaotic...cell towers were down, communication was limited, and no one realized how wide spread the power outage was (in fact, we were contemplating an Outback Steakhouse dinner as we were cleaning up Pam's house....HA!). It was not safe that first night...all the traffic signals were out and people were in "panic" mode to buy supplies, except there were no stores open.

After that first night it was better. Communication was restored via radios, the streets were being cleaned up, a few grocery stores opened on limited power supply generators, and a curfew was instituted. The crime went from 12 break ins on the first night to 0 on the second night. People actually listened, the curfew was followed, and we all hit the bed at 8pm because we really had nothing else to do. The next few days were even better...children were actually outside playing, neighborhoods were having "grill everything that's in my freezer" cookouts and by night time it was so quiet and dark...the BF (at the time) and I laid in the backyard (remember we live in the middle of the city) and counted a dozen satellites in about 20 minutes. It was calm and peaceful, a much different feeling than the night of April 27.

We were transported into a new sense of reality. Sun up, wake up...sun down, lay down. Grill, grill, grill. Work, work, work. Community, community, community. No one could go to work, so volunteers came out in record numbers. The effected areas were filled with the sounds of chain saws and heavy moving equipment. We took sponge baths and braved the less-than-hot showers. We conserved fuel and water and food. We camped out, prayed, and broke in a few decks of cards.

And after a week of the new reality, the power came back on. Kids went back inside to play video games, neighbors were back to doing their own thing, and people were driving all over just to get out. The Mayor mentioned in his speech how he has been approached by several citizens asking if we could institute a "power-free" weekend each month, just to get a little bit of the community feeling back, to see the kids outside, to encourage people to volunteer and help out. Maybe a week without power was not such a bad thing after all.