Sunday, 21 April 2013

Ice Storm 2013

On Tuesday, April 9, it started to rain in Sioux Falls.  It was a cold day, so the rain quickly turned to sleet.  We sent Z off to school at the usual time (7:35), and then Nathan and I continued to get ready to go to a local theological conference.  Eden usually stays with me at home on Tuesdays, but because of the conference, she was scheduled to spend the day with Amah.  At 8:15 we heard a cracking noise, then a resounding thud, and then the power was gone.  Through the back window we could see that a huge branch, probably about a 15-18 inches in diameter, had fallen through some power lines behind our house and landed on a truck.  Ouch.

But, no reason to change our plans.  Eden went to Amah's, and Nathan and I headed to the conference.  The sleet kept coming down, and by the time we went to lunch, there was probably an inch of ice on the windshield.  We went to a local bar and grill which had the TV on to local news, all of which was about the sleet and ice and the damage it was doing.  The central part of town (where we live) was hit the hardest because that's where most of the mature trees are.  At one point I even caught a glimpse of our house as the news showed a picture of a car damaged by falling branches.

Although we had several offers from friends to stay at their houses, we decided to try to weather the storm in our own house.  So that evening we pulled out the blankets and the candles and were thankful that the Kindle's battery was fully charged.  All schools (Seminary, USF, and Robert Frost)  were closed on Wednesday, so we slept late and then went to eat lunch with some friends who still had power.  But by then we were ready to throw in the towel, so we went home, packed our bags, and headed to the home of one of Nathan's colleagues.  They have a fully finished basement which they gave entirely to us, and we ended up staying there until Saturday night, which is how long it took for the city to get our power back on.  School across the city was cancelled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (amazing!), and given the circumstances, we had a very nice time staying with the Stricklands.  The kids especially loved it since there was no school, there was lots of tv, and every morning Gary made pancakes and bacon and sausage just for them.  When we finally did go home on Saturday night Z said, "Let's just dump our home."   And just before bed I found him weeping into the couch pillows.  When I asked him what was wrong he wailed, "I want to live at the Strickland's!"  We are so thankful for their generosity in sharing their house and time with us!

The damage done to the trees of Sioux Falls was incredible.  On Thursday Nathan dropped me off at our house to do a few things while he took the kids to the Seminary.  I walked the four blocks from our house the Seminary, and it was eerie.  Creaking and falling branches, streets and sidewalks littered with branches, many of them large, trees literally split down the middle, and people out in the streets with chainsaws.  One newspaper headline said, "Grief over trees palpable in Sioux Falls."  How the prairie dwellers love their trees!

It has been cold and snowy every since.  We had 5 inches of snow this past Wednesday, and it snowed again yesterday afternoon.  Oh spring, where are you???

You can see the branches piled around the trunks of the trees, waiting for the city to come pick them up.  There are piles of branches like this up and down all the streets of central Sioux Falls.   The clean up will probably take a couple of months.


MOM said...

So glad you are now safe and sound having weathered this adventure! I'm sad about the trees too. But it looks like your street just got a good pruning and didn't lose any whole trees. Hope Z got over his sorrow at being back home. Glad you have such great friends. Do I know them, the Stricklands?

Spring will always does. Remember, "seed time and harvest..."

The Hitchcocks said...

I'm not sure you've met them. Gary works with me, overseeing the DMin students and teaching MDiv students pastoral care. WE certainly felt cared for!