Two years ago tonight I experienced one of the worst storms I can remember. It was a Friday, and I had spent the day going about my business, getting ready for my graduation the next morning. April storms are unusual, and the one that struck that night was extraordinary. It wasn’t just the rain (although it did rain 2.53 inches that night, a record for the date that still stands), but the wind was astonishing. When I attempted to open the back door that night, a gust blew it out of my hands. Fallen branches were everywhere, and at the end of the street, and elsewhere around the neighborhood, houses were crushed by entire trees. On 6th Street, a massive oak fell across the road, pulverizing the sidewalk and flattening a fence. When my family came to town the next day, the neighborhood looked like a war zone.
Two years on and the scars from that night’s storm are still visible. Two blocks north of me, a house that was heavily damaged that night now stands vacant. A tree had fallen across the roof and driveway, damaging the house next door in the process. The next door house got fixed, but a few months after the storm, and the tarpaulins that had been placed temporarily over the damaged roof had broken down or blown away, leaving massive holes open to the elements. Only a couple months ago did a new, more secure looking tarp appear over that house. Elsewhere, the half-ground stump of the giant tree that crushed the sidewalk along 6th Street is still visible in the now otherwise bare yard of the old farmhouse at 31st Avenue. The city replaced the sidewalk shortly after the storm, and the street has been repaved, too. The white house at the corner, the back half of which had been almost flattened, has been completely repaired. If you look closely you can see that the bricks on the east side have been replaced, and the spot where the enormous oak tree stood is bare.
We were lucky that night: our house, and the houses of our neighbors were unharmed. They say it may have been a tornado that plowed through. I can’t say, but I was glad to get by unscathed. Still, two years on that storm is fresh in my memory.