Home > Life, Weather > Tornado in My Neighborhood (part three)

Tornado in My Neighborhood (part three)

[This entry was originally posted as a “note” on Facebook on May 25, 2011.]

Yesterday, we decided to drive around our neighborhood. We had thought, since we saw many more of the roads cleared in our immediate area, that it would be okay to do so. We drove further south on Logan than I had been on Sunday, south of Lowry Avenue. We thought that we had seen some pretty bad damage previously, but it was really nothing compared to the area between 29th and Lowry.

We shouldn’t have been there. That’s the simplest fact about our drive yesterday. Liza was driving and I was shooting video footage on my iPod, but once we got below Lowry, I put it away. I immediately felt dirty and sick. And we immediately tried to find the quickest way out of the area and out of people’s way. But the thing is that we couldn’t easily get out once we got in. The streets are not cleared there. There are still trees over the roads, there are Xcel Energy trucks everywhere, frantically working on the power lines and still attempting to clear the downed lines. The roads are narrow, only allowing one car through at a time, and sometimes only barely. The road is littered with debris even still – glass, insulation, sticks, branches, sawdust, a stray sock or t-shirt. Branches that have been sheared from downed trees are stockpiled at the curb. Vehicles crushed beyond repair sit, waiting.

People are still in their houses, even when there is little house left. One family sat perched on their stoop, while leaves rustled on their branches in the fully exposed bedroom and bathroom upstairs. The family eyed our van with contempt as we slowly slithered past. What made it worse was that we weren’t alone. Our van was only part of a caravan of sight-seers, which the neighborhood is undoubtedly sick of. It pained me to be part of this voyeuristic parade.

People were everywhere. Residents and neighbors were chatting. Assessors were writing on their clipboards. Children, who do not yet grasp the magnitude of the situation, were climbing on the fallen trees and playing tag amongst the wreckage. Families were grilling in their yard, behind the barrier forest of downed trees – the very trees that are currently crushing the homes in which they continue to live. Shelter has been offered to them, but they choose to stay in their homes for fear of being victims of the low-life scum that are stealing belongings from ravaged homes. One house had a giant plywood sign out front which read in spray paint, “I am home, and WILL protect.”

We did make it out of the terrible maze, following the four wheel drive Suburban in front of us. We got back to our house, unloaded our belongings from our Dollar Store shopping trip, took the baby in the house and got ready for the night. The power came back on. So life is back to normal at the Kollman house now. But just a few blocks south of our cozy little family, a couple blocks east, and a few more northeast, life is not even close to returning to normal.

There is natural disaster devastation in our own city, and half the people I talk to have no idea what even happened, not to mention the scope of it. Keep these people in your thoughts and prayers. Don’t drive through there. Consider volunteering or donating.

Categories: Life, Weather
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