Storm Damage Photos

The fire station located just down the road used to look like this:

It's a simple 3-bay, cinder block fire station.

After Tuesday night, it now looks like this:

These trees were just south of the fire station.

This used to be a house. A brick house. It is located about 1/4 mile northeast of the fire station. One car is still located where the garage used to be. Another car is half in the back yard.

This was part of the debris field Wednesday morning, looking north of the fire station. Some of the debris used to *be* the fire station. Notice that there are no cables at all on the utility pole.

Wednesday night when I got home from work, power crews were trying to restore power. If you look closely, there is a cherry picker basket up at the top of each of the three poles (the third pole is straight ahead of the red pickup truck). Power was restored at my house by about 6:30pm. I must give a big round of applause to the utility crews. These guys worked round the clock putting things back together. The weather Wednesday was cold, rainy and windy. Wednesday night the low temp was in the upper 20s.

Thursday night, the utility crews were stringing cable. You can see the cable hung temporarily across the road. I had internet service back by the end of Friday night (and cable TV, but that's minor relative to electricity and the internet, as far as I'm concerned).

Friday morning, I stopped by the Sheriff's Department Mobile Command Vehicle to drop off a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies and thank them for their work during the past week. The two men staffing the command post said they would find something to do with the cookies and thanked me. We all observed that it takes a whole lot longer to put things back together after Mother Nature knocks it down.

By Saturday morning, you can see all the cables are neatly strung again. I had a couple disruptions of power service today, but nothing that lasted more than 30 minutes.

This is the pile of discarded and damaged cables and transformers left at the base of one pole.

All in all, it wasn't a terribly bad experience for me. I lost power just before 7pm, either when the main power feed to the region from TVA was severed or when the substation was damaged. I waited the storm out in my hallway, listening to my weather radio. I had my shoes on, plus had my rain jacket and work gloves to hand, along with about six flashlights and two more battery-powered radios. Once the worst of the storm blew through, I sat in my car to charge my phone while I updated family. I didn't have too much trouble getting through with the cell phone. Ideally, I wanted to watch the radar returns during the storm, but I wasn't able to reliably access the internet via my cell phone. I did later get radar updates from a friend after the first two lines went through. By just after midnight, the last of the storm lines had moved through the area, so I felt pretty comfortable going to bed. Fortunately I have a gas water heater so I got to take a hot shower in the morning, even if I couldn't dry my hair afterward.

Sitting in the hallway wasn't too stressful. I figured the tornado would either hit the house or miss the house. There wasn't anything I was going to be able to do to change the path it chose, not that I didn't beam a mental barrier around my property when I got home from work. I later mentally told the storm to pass to the north of my house, but it decided to go south instead. I don't think the tornado should get any points off for confusing north and south. It missed. That's all I care about.

The storm sirens did go off well in advance of when the tornado arrived and before the power went out. The siren is actually located across the street from the fire station. When I heard the siren, I flipped the TV on to the local network TV affiliate and watched the hook return on the radar (the thing that indicates tornado location) pass over the interstate and continue heading northeast. Of course, the projected path put it on direct line to my house, so I put my shoes back on, and started gathering up important stuff (identification, gloves, radio, money and flashlights) in case I ended up out of my house. I believe in being prepared. It may seem like I over did things, but it's always easier to put things away after they aren't needed than to try and find them after the house is spread across the neighborhood.

During the peak of the storm, I could hear the wind roaring, but there wasn't any hail. The local news radio station was doing a good job of announcing where the radar showed the cells tracking. People would also call in and say when the tornado passed their location. Given the number of people who were apparently outside watching the tornado, it's a wonder more people weren't hurt or killed by flying debris. I won't even stand by a window to look and see if it's coming. In fact, I closed all the bedroom doors so that flying glass wouldn't enter the hallway.

I don't know that I care to repeat the experience any time soon, but it wasn't a bad time. It was exciting and kinda cool, but it does rather make a mess of things. This is the second F4 tornado that passed within a stone's throw of where I lived. (The previous one was over ten years ago in Urbana.) Because the storm damage was primarily inside Madison County, our regional emergency ops center wasn't activated and I didn't end up getting called into work for disaster stuff. We are going to have a meeting next week to discuss how things would have worked had we needed to mobilize and set up shelters.


Stefaneener said…
Glad you're safe. One of my second cousins had to flee her dorm at Union. Lots of damage, no one hurt in my family. But it does make me feel a little wimpy for whining about not having heat in 32 degree weather.

Of course, all that wimpiness will be wiped out by the big quake that is sure to come some day.

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