Sunday, August 26, 2007

August Wrath

I told you so. The month of August in the Chicago area is just the worst. And this one is wrapping up to be no exception. After three and a half days with no power, we've finally got the AC cranked and the lights are on. Never mind that our neighborhood looks like a war zone. Forget that the mosquitoes are fat and happy. No one is injured, no one's home is irreparably damaged. We're safe.

On Thursday at about 3 in the afternoon, Ethan and I were playing a Webkinz game on the computer. McKenna was napping in her room upstairs. Jim was in New York working. He wasn't expected back until Friday night. It was a typical summer day--muggy, slightly overcast, about 90 degrees. The usual. So, I was amazed when we looked out the patio french doors and saw a scene straight from The Wizard of Oz. The sky was black and trees were literally sideways. It looked like a monsoon descended upon us in the span of one minute. The wind was howling as loud as I have ever heard it. I firmly told Ethan to back away from the windows.

Thankfully, Ethan had the presence of mind to say that we better go get McKenna. (What a little trooper.) We ran up the stairs, plucked her out of bed and ran back down the stairs to the basement. The three of us snuggled up on the couch and listened as the house shook, trees crashed, and thunder boomed. McKenna just kept her face buried in my chest. Ethan was being super brave. He didn't cry but his eyes were as big as saucers. We talked about SpongeBob and Patrick and how they would handle the situation.

As soon as it came it was gone. A tendril of light emerged in the window well. Time to go upstairs and see what was what. Truly, I thought it was just a freak thunder storm. Pretty typical stuff in these parts for this time of year. But when we stepped out of the mud room door into the side yard, all three of just said, "Whoa".

Trees and power lines were down everywhere. A huge chunk of an Oak tree outside McKenna's room broke off and missed her sleeping area by about three feet. Fire and police sirens sounded everywhere. Neighbors came out of their houses and we all just sort of stared at the mess and then at each other. What happened?

Catherine and her father Bob and brother (Eric) drove up and asked if they could park one of their cars in our driveway since theirs was completely buried under debris. Bob told us that he had been outside when "the thing" hit. A wall of water just came barreling down the street. He said he had never seen anything like it and that it has the scariest thing her had ever seen in his life. I'm told that we may have gotten as much as eight inches of rain from this storm alone. WILD!

Many of our neighbors' basements flooded. Cars stalled in three feet of water just down the street. One of our neighbors lost a trampoline.
It ended up in another yard two houses down.
We got off relatively scott free. Amen.

OK enough details. Some say it was a microburst. Others said it was a class one tornado. I called it a gustnado even though I'm told that it doesn't meet the technical specs for that particular act-of-God (I just like the word gustnado.) Who knows what it was? Scary, loud, menacing, and sudden. There you have it.

I'm officially done with August even though there are a few days left in this wretched month. Fall never looked so good.

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