On Monday, Boone and central Iowa got hit by a derecho. It was a term that was completely knew to me. It is basically tornado force winds, without a tornado. Recorded wind speeds hit 99 miles per hour in Iowa. Like a lot of natural disaster stories, it basically came out of nowhere. At least to me.
Boone County has been in a drought for weeks. My lawn doesn’t look the best. I’ve only mowed in the last couple months to knock down weeds. You know how I feel about weeds in my lawn. The sky looked gloomy on Monday morning. Which I took as a good thing because we need the water and a break from the heat.
I went into my office and started my remote computer mine work. I’m still working 8-5 as many of our collapsed mine shafts haven’t been fixed yet. One of them was supposed to come back online at 1 PM on Monday. If you may recall, at that moment, I was going to put in for some much needed vacation. I haven’t had more than one day off since the mismanaged pandemic started.
Naima was particularly clingy that morning. Even for a golden retriever with abandonment issues. She literally won’t leave me alone. She doesn’t like hanging out in the office much, but she actually came in and laid down in the office. I should have taken it as a sign, but I didn’t.
I was talking on the phone with one of the end users for the computers we mine when it started to rain. Apparently the tornado sirens went off in west Boone, but they didn’t on my side of town. I even stepped outside while my job became watching progress bars. No sirens. Then it really started coming down.
The wind was pretty incredible. I’d always heard that a tornado sounds like a freight train coming down the track. That is exactly what this sounded like. At first I thought it was just the sound of the nearby railyard, but it was consistent and louder and louder. Then I lost power. I thought it would be only a brief outage. A few seconds. Maybe a few minutes.
I texted Vest and Lowell that I had lost power and that the end user I was working with would probably be calling back and that I had put instructions on how to help them in Teams. 15 minutes went by and I still didn’t have power. So this was going to be a several hour thing. Great.
Then I heard that the Computer Mine had also lost power.
I took some pretty poor video of the tail end of the storm. Even at the end, the wind was powerful enough, it was a struggle to open up my back door. Here is that video:
You’ll have to be on the website to see the video.
My neighbor’s front tree had partially fallen on their house, but my house was fine. After it had slowed to a slow drizzle I helped the neighbor across the street move some of their lost tree limbs out of the street so people could get though. I talked with Stan and Noreen.
I called my Mom. She had been in Ames during the storm and had sat it out at her apartment. When she got home, she didn’t have power. A power line was down across her yard, so you couldn’t get in her back door.
After realizing that there wasn’t much I could do at my house I went down to her house and helped her clear up her front yard. I had some potato chips for lunch. I sure wish the storm had come after lunch. I had my eye on some Gorton’s Crispy Fish for lunch. I’m sure those are probably worthless now. I’d still rather eat them than SeaPak.
After clearing my Mom’s frontyard, I cruised around Boone and looked at the damage. Even though the city asked people not to do that. I’d heard that somebody had vandalized the Cadet Bone Spurs mural in town. I checked it out and it was pretty disappointing. They did what I can only describe as a piss poor job of it. I hope they get caught and sentenced to 2 years of art school.
Many streets were closed because of downed power lines. There were many lightpoles blown over downtown. Not the real ones. The ornamental ones that are supposed to make the downtown look classy. However, the downtown area seemed to still have power. Bastards!
I went home to do a full assessment of my property. I had one small branch in my driveway. My favorite zinnia had been blown over. I also lost 4 naked lady lilies. My birdhouse was slightly askew. The roof looked fine. Once again, I’m an insurance agent’s dream.
I heard that the Computer Mine still had no power. So I decided to take a nap. Then a shower. My neighbors with the tree problem started working on getting the tree off their roof during my nap. So I decided it was time for a shower. As I sat on my couch preparing for the shower, I heard a woman scream, “Somebody call 911!”
I quickly put my clothes back on and went outside. When the tree had come off the house it hand landed on one of their friends that was helping. Apparently, the friend had been on the ground pulling on the tree with a rope. Meanwhile, the neighbor was on the roof hitting the tree with a sledgehammer. The neighbor didn’t know the friend was below the tree. When the tree came down, the friend didn’t have a chance to get out of the way.
When the first responders showed up, they immediately determined that the friend would need Life Flight. They eventually got him loaded up and he was helicoptered down to Mercy. Last report I heard was that he was in bad shape, but he was in stable condition. I know more than a few of you have said prayers for him.
I took my shower and then went over to my Mom’s for supper. After eating, I went over to the Sharps to take some pictures of their damage for their insurance company. Then Teresa and I drove down to Luther to look at their damage.
Eventually I got home and tried to sleep, without power. Listening to the not so gentle hum of all the generators in the neighborhood.
Here are some pictures from the day:
And that is the story of my first day of power.