Today was day #8 but after a while all the days have just been blending together. Last Monday, we were hit with a Derecho. What is a Derecho? In my world, it was a severe storm that came out of nowhere, lasted forever, ripped my city to shreds, and created a major mess.
I’ve lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa my whole life and I’ve never experienced anything like I’ve experienced last Monday. Luckily, I was at my parents house so I could help them, as their house is surrounded by trees, or used to be.
Watching their neighbor’s tree fall on his garage, marked the beginning of the event. It escalated to my father’s tree falling apart branch-by-branch. Then, came the noises. Watching out their large picture window, a large section came sailing towards me, breaking through the window, sending glass, rain, and debris into their house. My father and I spent the rest of the storm, bracing a quilt to the exposed window. The wind throwing us back and forth as the rain soaked the quilt and the debris tried to make its way inside. Stupid decision? Perhaps, but in my mind, I was thinking of what the wind and rain would do, if it worked it’s way inside. My arms were getting tired and I couldn’t get any traction on the floor (bare feet on broken glass)but my adrenaline rush was off the chart!
When it finally died down, the destruction was everywhere. Inside, outside, their house, our house, the neighbors, the street, the city! Every, I mean every block in Cedar Rapids had damage. Every light was out! No electricity, no street lights. Trees down everywhere. Trees on houses, on electric wires, on cars, on everything. 100 year- old trees down. Trees laying on their sides, grass, roots and all. A- 10 minute drive home took 25 minutes, as streets were blocked with debris, electric wires, whole trees lying across them, and with people coming out to clean up.
It’s a Derecho, and we’re slowly, very slowly putting our lives back together. We’ve got people cooking on their grills, feeding whoever shows up for free food, drink on their sidewalks and driveways. We have giveaways setup throughout the city, volunteers ready to deliver if you can’t drive in. Anything you need? Call the number and someone will try to help you. We have individuals driving in to help now, we’re getting electricians from around the country and Canada to get us back up on the grid. We are so thankful! This is people helping people, this is Iowa.
We haven’t got our electricity back on yet. We’re plugged into our neighbors generator (sharing it) as we’ve let others use our generators right now. We’ve got some damage to our house but others have it much worse. We’re fighting this Derecho amongst this Covid outbreak and now, with most of schools damaged, the forecast for the beginning of school has been determined.
This has been a learning experience. I love how our community has come together when our leaders didn’t. Our neighbors have been wonderful and relying on them and socializing with them after a long day, is priceless. Being outside and not connected to our electric devices, makes you appreciate nature again. It makes me realize that you just never know, be prepared!