Having grown up around severe weather I usually am not alarmed by storms, but the past 6(!) weeks of severe weather has me a bit jumpy when storms are on the way.  Yesterday it was suppose to be a nice day, but like a lot of the recent severe storms the bad weather literally just appeared.  At least there was some warning, and because of what happened early morning on June 8 this time 911 dispatchers signaled the sirens and everyone knew it was serious before the leading edge of the storm hit the metro area.

Right when it hit the power went out and I got everyone downstairs.  I looked out the window before going down and I couldn’t even see the street due to the wind, rain and hail being so furious.  Wind gusts were over 80 mph.  The sound was intense.  I got back downstairs.

A few minutes later the worst of it passed, but there was still heavy rain and wind.  We all went up stairs and I watched from the window.  The neighborhood was filled with debris.  The intersection in front of our house was flooded over.  Rivers were flowing through everyone’s yard.  (“Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!” –Ghostbusters)

After it had calmed down I went outside to survey the damage.  A number of people were outside and pretty soon we were all congregating, talking about our experiences and trading any bits of information we had since none of us had power.  Those homes that didn’t have people in them at the time of the storm we checked out as best we could to make sure everything was okay.

If there is one positive out of all this it was the communal spirit the neighborhood had.  We all hung out the rest of the day together.  Liam got to play with a number of neighborhood kids and was running around all over the place.  Everyone was looking after everyone else.  It was good.

The house across the street had a tree snap and take out part of their fence so a few of us helped out to clean up the mess.  Some people brought in their chainsaws and we got it cleaned up in a little over an hour.  I also helped someone bail their sump pump which was overflowing.

One of my neighbors works for OPPD and he was giving us updates as he heard them.  Unfortunately, the rest of the evening he was asked countless times about our neighborhood getting power back quickly because of his connection to it.  He helped everyone out, provided drinks and then when we were all getting ready to go to bed he had to go into work.

As it grew darker we pulled out some chairs and set them up in our driveway.  A few other neighbors sat with us and we just talked the rest of the night away.  Some people were lighting off fireworks.  Liam would occasionally cry because he wanted to stay outside.  He could hear us since his window was open to let in cool air.  He had so much fun in the aftermath.

I didn’t really sleep well and was woken up early by the boys.  I headed to Hy-Vee to get some Starbucks and a newspaper.  Everyone there was talking about it.  The barista said they had a line of people waiting when they opened up at 5:30 AM.  A few of the other Starbucks in the area had no power so they were doing brisk business.  When I left there were 10-15 people in line.

I then headed to McDonald’s to get some breakfast.  I headed toward the McDonald’s at 132nd & Maple, but that was closed off due to the heavy damage in the area.  So then I headed to the McDonald’s near church.  When I pulled up the line for the drive-thru was around the store.  I parked thinking I could go inside, but when I got out of my car I saw a sign saying the lobby was closed.  However, at the moment some workers walked up and I just followed them in.  I saw other people inside eating so I just walked up to the counter and ordered.  I was fortunate because they weren’t suppose to be letting anyone else inside due to the high volume of customers and low workforce because of the storm.  I was sure to thank any McDonald’s worker I came across.  I struck up a short conversation with the manager and he said for the most part everyone was patient and understandings, although one person chewed him out for not letting him inside.  Service was fast and great, which was amazing since it was undermanned.  I’m sure a lot of food establishments were like that this morning.

While driving around I was able to listen to the radio and start getting a better sense of the damage that hit Omaha.  Fairly extensive to say the least.  A number of people compared it to the ice storm of ’97, but I remember when I was in grade school a similar storm hit and we were without power for a few days.  This storm reminded me of that one.

I came home and we had our Saturday morning pancakes.  Liam was as happy as could be.  Jana and I were tired but thankful.  Duncan was sleeping.  After breakfast the power clicked back on and it was time to start putting everything back together.  Jana had a wedding to go to where she is the personal attendant to the bride.  I stayed back and continued cleaning up our yard while my mom came over and entertained Liam.

And now my dad is coming over to entertain Liam while I’m off to the church to fix the network.  Oh the joy!

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