Around 1:45 AM on Wednesday last week my daughter came quietly into my bedroom. I was not asleep, nor was her father. The wind was raging outside and rain was pelting the bedroom windows. We'd been under a tornado watch since about 3:00 PM the day before.
"Mom," she said, "I just had the weirdest thing happen. My ears felt like they were going to burst a couple of minutes ago. I think there's got to be a tornado close by."
Eight minutes later I received a text message from a member of our Church asking if I had a cell phone number for yet another church member who lived fairly close to her and her parents. Over the course of the next hour we texted back and forth checking on various people and their safety.
Later, after daylight, we began assessing things in the area. Schools were closed due to lack of power. Huge trees were down everywhere--though not in our little neighborhood. My daughter left for her college classes 30 miles away and called every few minutes to report on the damage she saw on both sides of the highway.
We called and checked on various people throughout the parish that we know, checking to see if they were okay. The damage at my friend's parents' home was the loss of about 7 large trees--no damage to their house or vehicles. They were without power, however. The people she asked about having a cell phone number for had lost a huge oak tree that blocked their driveway--it was uprooted and laying the length of their front yard and knocked down their two peach trees, another huge oak tree was down on the other side of their property close to their garden. Just up the road from them another friend had two large trees down, one barely scraping the roof on the back of her house.
Others we know that have a small home had huge trees literally blocking them inside as trees fell very unnaturally all around the house without leaving a scratch on it. Everyone in our community and the communities around us are in awe of the destruction that spared most every house they fell close to. Some did have more serious damage, but nothing was completely devastated as the poor people in Alabama and other places have been.
It seems that--according to the evidence in the trees--and the experience of the folks around us (we've had a few tornadoes around us here over the years) there must have been a number of tornadoes going on at the same time. Several people I've talked with said it probably only lasted about 10 seconds when the twister(s) were on their property doing the damage they did.
Many people were without power for several days, but graciously the weather cooled and it was reasonably comfortable, compared to the heat we'd been experiencing prior to the wild storm on Tuesday night/Wednesday wee hours of the morning. We all feel really blessed that the damage was so limited overall to the loss of trees.
I thought our peach tree (which was loaded with peaches for the first time ever) would lose a ton of peaches to the howling winds that night, but when I surveyed things in the morning light--there were no peaches on the ground! That truly astonished me.
Since then, I have picked peaches and picked peaches and picked peaches and given them away to several friends and neighbors. And this evening, on just one branch, I counted nearly 100 more to go! These are NOT large peaches--just delicious peaches! This is the same peach tree that I've mentioned a time or three . . . the one that has been known to begin blossoming on Halloween! I DID NOT expect to have more than a handful of peaches this year because of the roller coaster ride the temperatures/weather has taken since the tree began blossoming in the winter. It would be in the 70's and then drop down into the teens. I don't know how/why it managed to do so much this year, but I am grateful! Except that we've lost two main branches--they broke under the weight of the peaches! I don't think I've ever seen a peach tree with "clusters" of peaches before, but this one has many, many clusters of peaches. Beats anything I've ever seen!
When I'm not suffering with a migraine, I'll try to post some pictures of the peach tree/peaches and some of the uprooted, and twisted off trees around here. But, I'll tell you now--the pictures do not do justice to the scope of the destruction.
Still, I know that we are tremendously blessed to have only the destruction we've had around here when you compare it to so much of the rest of the country. My heart and prayers go out to all those who have lost so very much more!