So, yes, a tornado hit North Minneapolis a week ago today. I am sure most everyone knows about it by now...and yes, I am WAY behind on blogging. I think this might be my second one for the month - which...yeah. Whatever.
Tornado. I didn't even know there was a tornado warning, much less for one in my own neighborhood. I had been taking a nap and woke up when it sounded like a huge gust of wind suddenly hit the side of our house. I looked out the window, but it was pouring rain and the sky wasn't greenish so I didn't feel too concerned. Two seconds later I got a text saying that if I was home I should go to the basement immediately. Two seconds after that Steve called me from work.
Steve loves storms so he was all, "Babe, there's a tornado somewhere! You should turn on the tv and find out what's going on!"
And I was all, "Um, I don't think so. I just got a text from Kathy telling me to go to the basement ASAP."
Then he was all, "Well, are the sirens going off?"
And I said no. Two seconds later they went off.
So I grabbed the girls and grabbed them some shoes and we rushed off down to the basement.
When we came up from the basement and looked out the window it was like nothing had happened. Our neighborhood didn't even have a tree down. No big deal. However, if you look at this picture you can see that the tornado basically hit all of North except our neighborhood. We live in the southeast corner, next to the larger green park that says Fairview Park - if that's readable.
By Sunday night they called a 9:00pm curfew for all of the Northside so that people weren't walking into downed power lines in the middle of the night, and by Monday morning most roads in and out of North were closed down. I had to drive the girls to Robbinsdale on Monday morning - which is kiddy corner to us on the map, northwest corner - and it usually takes 5 minutes. It took about 40 mins. I got "lost" driving around North on Monday. Lost as in the sense that I knew where I was, knew where I wanted to go, but had NO IDEA how to get there.
After dropping the kids off I unknowingly drove into one of the very worst areas, into Zone 3. I can't even tell you how many times I had to turn around or turn down a different street because of trees just laying across the roads. That's where I saw this car, which I had seen on the news the night before.
Notice how all the trees fell into the road? Well, I drove down some other roads that had the opposite problem and every tree had fallen onto the front of house instead. There were a few blocks were it looked like every house had a tree leaning on it.
Steve and I joined thousands of volunteers to help with clean up on Monday. Yes, I am 4 weeks out from having a baby, I still helped anyway. At first we were told to pick up twigs and small branches outside the main zones. Steve said, "Heck no, I want to carry heavy things!" It just so happened that a guy in our group had a chainsaw so he brought it out and we crossed the zone barriers.
I think Steve or someone counted, our team, consisting of Chainsaw guy, our friends Christian and Fink Josh, two girls whose names I don't know, two or three other guys, Steve and pregnant me, cleared 12 trees on Monday. I didn't bring my camera out at the beginning of the day because it continuously looked like it was going to rain any minute, but it finally got sunnyish after lunchtime.
One street that we cleared was in front of an assisted living facility. We helped clear a big tree that had fallen over their fence. It was funny though because I was mostly just hauling smaller branches that I didn't have to bend way over to pick up - not a big deal. They weren't heavy. Eventually though, this guy who was not part of our team, I think he might have worked at the facility, came to help us. Then, every single time I picked something up he came over to me, without saying a word, and took it out of my hands. He never did talk to me, just kept taking things away. Finally I just had to sit down on a chair for awhile because there was nothing that I could do.
Now, a week later there are still tons of people volunteering to help with the clean up, and there is still lots of clean up to do. I see big trucks driving by all the time just loaded up with parts of trees. Also, Fairview Park, two blocks away from us, has become the relief center for all the tornado victims. There are hundreds of people at the park everyday getting all kinds of help.
My friend and neighbor Gennae was helping out people this last week who lost their glasses in the tornado. I had never thought of that as a need before, but some people whose houses are condemned literally only have the clothes that they were wearing last Sunday. Gennae helped a few hundred people get new eyewear so that they could see. Can you imagine loosing your glasses? It would be hard for me to function without mine.