You can learn more about the storm by visiting this site: DERECHO
Some trees were snapped in half while others were completely uprooted. Large oak trees lay across houses and highways. It was almost impossible to navigate anywhere in the affected area after the storm because trees and debris blocked most major and minor roads. I was working at the hospital that day. I had recently taken a storm spotter class and had noticed the odd cloud formations when I walked by the front windows. I stepped out of the hospital and examined the clouds and odd shifts of wind. I returned to the hospital and turned on the local news. I still remember the weatherman saying something like, “If I didn’t know better I would say the approaching system looks like a hurricane.” By this point the weather system was quickly approaching our vicinity. Another employee and I returned to the front of the hospital and watched it. It was suddenly very dark and we observed the storm as it cut a path through the trees across the highway. Rain was pouring down and a suddenly blast of wind hit the hospital. People were running in from outside to take cover in the hospital. I remember one woman saying her husband was outside the front door in his truck. I watched the truck as it rocked in the wind and ran out to it. As soon as I exited the front doors I was hit by a hard blast of wind and piercing rain. I forced my way to the truck helped the man into the hospital. A few minutes later the wind stopped and debris was everywhere. I remember attempting to drive home that afternoon in what was an eerily clear day. Due to the debris, what normally took 30 minutes to drive took 3 hours because each path became too blocked to proceed and I had find a way around the storm debris. It was very chaotic.
What really stood out about the storm was not the damage it caused but how our communities embraced one another. Everyone was without power for days which meant many of us took cold showers. Some people had generators or natural gas and would invite neighbors to shower at their homes. Almost everyone cooked on their grills and had block parties. The communities embraced one another as people partnered together to use chainsaws and tools to clear one another’s property. It was an amazing storm but an even more amazing testimony of how people can unite under difficult circumstances. I remember the storm of May 8, 2009 and I am proud to say that I was here to witness the positive outcome of a negative circumstance. Where were you that day? - Tim