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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Location: United States

Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tornado Formed Above Us, Touched Down In Next County

I know, I know, I said I would be around more often to update my blog and I haven’t been here in over a week. This time I do have an excuse. A real one. We were without power for nearly three days. A frightful thunderstorm hit and dumped rain on us last Thursday morning. About 2:45 PM black clouds rolled over our house with winds about 65 miles per hour. Tornado clouds formed aboved us. As we watched the clouds swirl and roll, the trees around the house were swinging in circles, and another downpour came. The lights flickered, the TV went off, and the power was out. Within fifteen minutes the storm was over.

Here’s a picture of my driveway before the storm. We’d just trimmed the banks by the driveway the day before.

When we walked out on the deck at 3:00 PM we saw what we thought was a branch to a tree across the driveway. Two Feather joked that I was stuck there. Then he wished he hadn’t joked. It wasn’t just a branch, it was the whole tree, and as we walked closer we saw five more had been downed and scattered across the drive.

He had his work cut out for him. I had to leave at 4:00 to pick up my mom from day care.

We decided we’d better get on the Kawasaki Mule and ride down the path from my house to Mom’s to make sure there was no damage or trees on her driveway. We ended up having to walk because there were trees down all along the path he drives through the woods.

Trees on the path.

More trees on the path. Yes, there is a path there. You just can't see it because it's covered with trees.

No damage at Mom’s other than 11” deep ruts in the driveway from the rain running gutters through the gravel. When we got to the end of the driveway, we saw why our power was out. There was a huge tree across the road and on the power lines. Someone was already placing cones on the road to stop traffic. At least I knew at that point I’d have to drive around back roads to get to Mom’s driveway from the other direction.

We walked back up to my house and Two Feather went to the shed to get his chainsaw and I picked up the phone to let the day care know I’d be a little later picking up Mom. “Don’t worry,” Two said, “If nothing else, I’ll cut through enough for you to get the car through. You’ll still be on time to pick up Mother.”

He did just that. He cleaned a path between the fallen trees by 4:15 PM. I ended up being only 10 minutes later than the normal time I pick her up. All the houses on the way to the day care had electric. The day care had electric. The nurses there said it only rained there.

I guess we’re lucky the wind was blowing straight at the house because five trees blew down with the wind direction rather than the lean they had toward the house. I'll get a picture of those tomorrow. They're laying on the hill just above the side of my house.

We spent nearly three days without electric, so we ate garden salads, sandwiches, and fruit salads since I couldn't use the stove. Mom slept through most of the darkness and it was light by the time I awoke her to go to club the next day.

Two Feather and I spent all this week cutting up the trees on the driveway, clearing the path to Mom's house, and grading her driveway to free it from ruts. Everything is back to normal again, with the exception of a few people with aching muscles we forgot we had.

Oh yes, both my daughters came to visit this past weekend, too. Stacey and Two Feather entertained each other by candlelight. I'll have pictures of the visit in the next blog.

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Blogger DMH said...

Incredible. We have a lot of tornadoes in our area, too, but we live in a new subdivision--no big trees, no big damage (except for the people with two-story pool screens). But downtown gets clobbered and resembles your pictures.

What a scary event!

8/17/2007 11:41 AM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Thanks for reading, dmh. I'm happy we didn't have worse damage than we did. And to think this was just from the winds and the forming of a tornado. It didn't muster its real power until after it passed us and touched down in the next county. Never saw the twister itself; just saw the black swirling clouds and experienced the winds. Thank goodness.

8/18/2007 5:46 PM