This was a photo I shared in my last post of our new empty-nester home up north. I took this photo a few days before Iowa was hit with a derecho. I had never even heard the word derecho before August 10th. It is often described as an inland hurricane but, unlike a hurricane, it doesn't swirl and unlike a tornado, this storm was forty miles wide and stuck around for nearly an hour.
Add in the fact that unlike regular hurricanes, with days to prepare, these straight-line winds came with little warning. We had about fifteen minutes notice for what we thought was going to be a thunderstorm with gusty winds. We had no idea what was headed our way.
Photo credit: The Weather Channel
So that was then.
Today the house looks like this.
Look at all of those trees that are now missing!
But, the house is still standing and for that I am grateful.
And we were not alone. The damage at the home where we raised our family and just recently sold brought me to tears. The wall of pine trees to the west of the house consisted of trees that were probably 80-100 years old. You can't put that back.
In 2017 we evacuated from our Florida home back up here to Iowa because of hurricane Irma and people have asked me how this damage in Iowa compares to what we saw in Florida. Although our own home had more damage in the 2017 Florida hurricane, I feel that overall, this derecho has left much more long-term devastation in its wake than what we saw after Irma.
This storm didn't hit just a couple blocks in the city, it battered every single quadrant, street, and property. Every one. It severely damaged cell towers, cable infrastructure, and left 95% of the residents without electricity - many of them for nearly three weeks.
Yes, that is an airplane wing stuck into the side of a house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Photo credit: KGAN
Photo credit: KWWL
The National Weather Service described this derecho as a straight-line wind storm that had winds as high as 140 mph, or the equivalent of a category 4 hurricane when it hit this part of the state and then continued its forty-mile wide march across Iowa and other Midwest states.
We were incredibly lucky. I like to think there were angels watching over our home. Trees fell on every side of the house but nothing penetrated the roof.
This one came uncomfortably close.
A number of our neighbors were not as lucky.
We, of course, lost power.
Over 100,000 people in this small city were without power, many of them for well over two weeks.
We were down for NINE DAYS. Nine very long days.
No air-conditioning, no fans, and no refrigeration.
We were also without internet or cable for NINETEEN DAYS!
I'm not sure which one was worse.
Now imagine all the spoiled food from tens of thousands of homes without power for weeks!
Yes, a whole house generator is our next scheduled home improvement!
My last post said I would be back soon with some reveals of the inside of our new downsized home but without the internet that just wasn't possible and a post about home design seemed pretty damn trivial when so many in our area were without walls or roofs.
It's too soon for that but I will be back with a reveal post in the near future.