Tornado Destruction

Last Tuesday night, close to midnight, our weather scanner went off to alert us of a severe thunderstorm. Not 5 minutes later the wind started slamming our house. The storm passed quickly but at 12:20 the weather radio went off again for the towns to the east. 85 mph winds were predicted. 

When I woke up in the morning, we only had one tiny branch that fell out of the tree. I thought for sure our corn would be flattened but our property was unscathed. 

Christian called to tell me that he heard that much of Appleton (where I work) was out of power. I decided to drive in to work anyways. During my commute as I approached the small town of Hortonville is when I really started to see some damage. Trees were laying everywhere, a few barns were flattened, silos were knocked down... I had never seen destruction like it. 

An eerie fog lay over the dark streets of the town. A path just wide enough for my car had been cleared through the road. My grandparents, who are in their mid-80's, live near the downtown and I was concerned about their safety. One end of their street was barricaded off so I drove around to the other end. More barricades. I parked the car and resolved to walk in to their house to make sure a tree wasn't laying on top of them. When I rounded the corner, this is what I saw:

Downed power lines blocked my path. I would have been foolish to keep walking so I got back into my car and started making phone calls. My grandparents weren't answering their phone but I imagine that the lines were down. I tried my uncle who also lives in Hortonville but I couldn't reach him either. Next I tried my brother in the next town over. No luck. Finally I got ahold of my mom. She had no idea of the destruction that had happened in her hometown and I don't think my words were sinking in until she saw the damage for herself later in the day. 

How quickly someones life can change...

My grandparents were fine and their house only had minor damage but they lost every tree in their yard. But, a tree is just a tree. A tree cannot call to wish you "happy birthday" or teach you how to garden. A tree cannot teach you dirty jokes or bake you a blackberry pie. A tree is just a tree and I have never been so happy to hear my grandma's voice as I was that afternoon.


Amy Powell said…
well so glad that you & your grandparents are OK!
fjord girl said…
Oh gosh- this really pinched my heart Kelly. I'm so glad that your folks are well- that is really some destruction!!!! Very eerie images- I hope you all are doing well and can literally pieces.
coffeeaddict said…
the photos look awful! we had a milder version of a tornado a few weeks ago and it was the first time I've seen such devastation: fallen trees, rooftoops uncovered, crops ruined... but still in the end, the only thing that really mattered is that noone got hurt. I'm glad your grandparents are okay :-)
Kathy said…
Wow, so much destruction in such a short time. I'm always amazed at how quickly things can be destroyed when they took so long to either grow or be built. Glad to hear that your grandparents are safe.
katie metzroth said…
I'm so glad they are ok! That sounds like a rough day for you - not knowing.

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