Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tornado

4-16-2011

Just when we thought we had escaped the 2011 dig with no catastrophes, a tornado struck.  Fortunately, it only delayed Andy's flight by 5 or 6 hours, not 5 or 6 days like the previous events.  About this same time, I had left Beckley, West Virginia, (yes, Beckley again) and was driving near Charleston, down a hill, in construction, when I rounded a curve and wondered if the white "wall" ahead was fog.  Within seconds, I realized it was not fog, it was driving sheets of rain and hail.  I noticed a sign about this time stating an exit was about 2 miles away.  That last two miles, driving down a mountain in rain so hard that you could see nothing, not the lines on either side of the road, nothing at all...was terrifying.  Extremely harrowing - making me wonder at what point I would see my life pass before me. 

I was afraid to pull off in a construction zone because I didn't know if there was a shoulder.  I decided I had to stop, regardless, because I was going to hit something otherwise, although I was terrified that someone would hit me.  I knew someone, especially a truck, coming down that mountain wouldn't see my flashers until it was too late. 
I pulled over, just in time to see the green sign right beside me with an arrow pointing to the exit ramp.  I've never been so grateful for an exit ramp.  I crept down the ramp to the single filling station and discovered they had no power.  Do you know how difficult it is to visit the bathroom in total darkness?  

I knew George was taking Andy Powell to the airport and I had to wonder how they were being affected.  The storm was brutal and short, followed by flash floods.  Later, I would discover that a tornado struck very near George's home, where George and Andy had spent the night before George took Andy to the airport.  Andy was actually at the airport, and his flight did leave, even if significantly delayed by several hours.  So now, we've had our digs ushered out by a hurricane, a volcanic eruption and a tornado.  What's next? 

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