Sunday, May 22, 2011


--------------------------------------------UPDATE: Monday eve --------------------------------------
We did some volunteering this evening at the emergency foodshelf/supply depot at the corner of Broadway and Penn. If you're in the neighborhood, drop by and ask them what they need - we went over to the Cub down the street and bought several packages of toilet paper for the depot, then helped assemble paper product bags for handing out to the neighbors in need.

We weren't there for a long time, but we got stuff done. Many hands make for light work.

One interesting aspect of this weekend's Mpls tornado is the relatively cool air temperature on the ground, typically 55 to 60 degrees. I always thought that tornadoes were heat driven, and in order to get enough energy to generate the amount of damage we've seen, the temperatures should have been in the 80's or 90's. They weren't, but the storm had plenty of energy.

I'm surprised how close it got to our home. Two blocks west from us, there are downed trees, and three blocks over, the damage was full force. And there was significant damage on the other side of our neighborhood also - the man who died from the tree fall was a quarter mile east. Yet all we experienced were small branches broken and scattered about - we didn't even lose lilac flowers. Tornadoes are bizarre.

--------------------------------------------UPDATE: Sunday eve ---------------------------------------------------

We just went out of our happy little neighborhood for a look around at the storm damage. This tornado has caused more damage than any other tornado I can remember, including the 1981 storm. There was a terrible F4 tornado in Joplin Missouri today, their devastation makes Minneapolis’ storm damage pale in comparison. But we got socked yesterday also.

Imagine a ribbon, four blocks wide and who knows how many miles long, laid across the north western end of Minneapolis. Everything under that ribbon has been severely beaten by wind; whole trees ripped out the earth wet from 2 days rain, cars crushed under tons of fallen wood, rows of alley telephone poles are bent 30 degrees to the West. Picture windows are broken with huge gaping holes. Shingles torn off roofs - roofs torn off of attics. We joined in with the rubberneckers clogging the passable side streets; police have blocked off entrances to main streets such as Lowry and Lyndale, to allow passage of emergency vehicles. Plenty of side streets are completely blocked.

I see plenty of people wearing a face of relief that they weren't harmed. Considering the level of damage I am thankful that more people didn't die. 

 I've seen a few metro tornadoes in my life time, but never one so severe or near my beloved neighborhood. I drove ahead of the tornado earlier today; just made it home before the tornado sirens blew.  It was a spectacular storm to watch, but soon things looked scary.

After the tornado passed by the emergency sirens began from all directions. The t.v. said that the Theo Wirth area was badly damaged. Now the helicopters started overhead, one news channel after another. It sounded like a war zone.

I didn't want to be a gawker, but we went out under the pretense of finding a passable route for the morning commute. 

Holy, Moly! I had no idea what I would see. I cannot believe the number of people who have been slammed by this storm. Many people were out already, trees being dismantled. Many, many cars crushed under trees.

After seeing previous examples of this community pulling together to help one another out, I'm sure we will all get our opportunities to help. I feel for the volunteers who covered that area just last Saturday for the Clean Sweep day. So far I have not heard of any organized efforts for our specific Jordan area, but I'm sure we'll get the word soon.

I feel very fortunate to have our little area spared from the destruction and feel for all of you who have not.

---------------------------------------- FIRST IMPRESSIONS: ----------------------------------
ROB: Well - that was exciting! We just had a tornado blow by a few blocks away.

Around 2:45 this afternoon, I was driving on 94 toward the Hwy 55 exit in downtown Mpls, and saw this big, slate gray cloud moving fast over North Mpls, with tornado sirens going off. Looking to the west from downtown, I was seeing city blocks disappearing behind sheets of rain. After getting off the highway and into my end of town, I drove into the bizness end of the storm - high winds, and "wet out" conditions. Big fallen branches on some the local streets, blocking traffic. And on Broadway, the traffic lights were out at Emerson, and Irving.

I called 911 to inform them that lights were out, and was greeted by "Brrrng....brrrng...brrrng..." They picked up on the 8th ring, speaking fast. I told them the situation. The dispatcher took my note, said, "it's like that all over town", and hung up. She was busy.

I'm home, my block looks just fine. But, according to the TV, whole boulevards of big trees are down across the roads and through people's houses just a few blocks away. Mpls has set up an EMS headquarters at 26th and Penn Ave, almost spitting distance from me. Lots of emergency sirens, lots of downed power lines (don't trip on one of those, they're hot!).

All in all, it looks like a good time to stay home.