When I stepped onto the deck I was hit with a powerful hot wind and dust. It only took a couple of minutes to decide that this was going to be an extraordinary weather event. Got Dad to help roll up the nifty sunsetter awning and saw that we already had limbs down in the driveway. Worried that he was going to be crushed by a tree, I helped get some chairs in from the deck and we declared the rest would just be fine, or not.
Since I use a CPAP, I knew that sleep wasn't going to be possible, so I settled in a chair to watch the storm (from inside!!). The wind was incredible - going from almost calm to gale-force in seconds. It seemed to build and decline for hours. I texted with my sister (who had to go save next-door cats when a window blew open. She feared they might attempt escape!) and my brother (who was calmly passing the time at his favorite local bar).
Gordon suggested that I text our river house neighbor to see if the power was on there. Although I thought it was HIGHLY unlikely - and it was now after 11 - I did. And miraculously, the power was on. So I packed up my machine and headed for "the cool room" at the Riva Howse. And this is where I have stayed. Most of the family has spent their days here - staying cool in the river and storing all the food they could in the two fridges.
Tonight I ventured out with Denise to see the devastation around town. There is not an area in Lynchburg that escaped damage. The worst part of the city that we visited was the Link Rd area - at least two houses appear crushed by large trees. I don't believe either is repairable. There are trees and lines down all over the city. But I think it was incredible to see how many near-misses there were. Numerous times we saw trees lying next to a house or car - but not touching. Many trees that were fallen away from the house, toward a street or open area...this could have been much worse.
It will be awhile before power is restored and a while after that before things are back to "normal". But until then - it has been great to see people reaching out to help their neighbors.
When the chips are down - you really see what people are made of.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device from U.S. Cellular