I am writing this on Adele’s computer in Lyons because we don’t have internet access yet. All the antennas etc. on top the elevator (where we get our signal) were blown off–surprise, surprise. So, other than that we are fine and Curtis has a new roof. Ted has his planting done, and I have a bit more before we head to Greeley CO for nephew Ian’s wedding. It will be great. All of our kids will be there. Take Care and we will get back to you all when we have internet again–no promises when that might be. lovelaine
[Here’s someone else’s video of the wreckage]
My name isnt Dorothy, but I do have a tornado story and I thought you might want to hear about what is up in Beaver Crossing after the 5 PM Mother’s Day tornadoes. Maybe not so much what is up in BC, but what is down. And Tornadoes was plural on May 11. F3’s for what it is worth.
Ted was watching for a tornado out the South window and we missed it, or rather, them, even though only 1/2 mile south on the neighboring tarmstead the outbuildings and most of the trees were spread across the fields. A lot of the shingles from Curtis’ house ended up in our front yard as well as some branches, but that was the extent ofthe damage here.
in BC there isn’t a business or home or church that escaped damage, but no one was hurt. Tombstones were shifted and toppled in the cemetery on the hill. Mom and Dad’s is lying on its face, but sister Jean and Bill’s adjacent and nearly identical in Shape, stands strong. The water tower beside the cemetery was not damaged, but the big ranch style house next to it was destroyed while the large tamin huddled and prayed in the basement.
The newspaper reported that “16 homes were destroyed and major damage on 22 more”. At the very least. After 2 weeks of ciean-up we have mountains of rubble that is waiting to be hauled oft and biue tarp on remaining roots.
Beaver Crossing lies in a river valley and had a lot of big beautiful trees including some massive cottonwoods that fell and blocked entrance to the town after the storm. Even the storm spotters couldn’t get back to their houses to check on their families and assess damage until farmers came with their tractors and pushed the giant chunks of trees off the roads.
Miles of power poles were snapped off. Much of Beaver Crossing was out of power till Tuesday of the following week. 9 days of borrowed or purchased generators keeping the food frozen and the milk cold. Here on the farm, Ted took Monday afternoon off to repair and back the generator up tothe pole. The power company had enough poles replaced and switches changed so that we had power by Tuesday night. We have nearly daily outages as they instali more poles and reconfigure the power flow. We are tucky. Townies don’t have poles to back a generator up to. The small generators they can use just power a few things. You can preserve your food, or have hot water or have a few lamps plugged in for light. But not all at once. To add insult to injury, if the damage is between your house and the power company’s pole, YOU have to arrange the repair.
Food preparation was one thing that you did not have to worry about in BC. The Red Cross and Salvation Army pulled in the next day and provided 3 hot meals a day to residents and workers. A real Blessing. Please Contribute. And when they had to move on to another need, the United Methodist Committee on Relief came and will stay until the end of October. They are providing meals now, but also assistance in dealing with insurance and financing, as well as counseling. Food and supplies appear and disappear daily. Itis eye opening to see how many heretofore unknown organizations come in to fill our needs.
Even more amazing are the volunteers! Heavy equipment and operators to stick-picker-uppers and rakers. Hundreds of them. One day alone, there were 850 of them. Football teams, youth groups, senior citizens, just plain folks wanting to help. As remarkable as the storm and damage was, the generosity of time, labor and goods that followed, was even more so.
The Volunteer Department of Beaver Crossing has been in the center of the action. They spotted the storm to alert the residents and they organized the clean-up for over a week until the town was abte to take it over. The “firebarn” is the hub of labor distribution and temporary City Office. The Volunteer Firemen/women worked tong hours every day as well as taking care of their own jobs, families and damage. They VOLUNTEER more than just their freetime.
As you drive along the river in the valley it looks like a crazed giant with a dull machete hacked his way along the West Branch of the Big Blue River. Sometimes the downed trees appear as it they were in windrows. The farmsteads along the paths ofthe storms are even more “scattered” than they were before. Some are totally smeared, most only partially. Probably over a hundred of center pivot irrigation systems were flipped and twisted, even if they weren’t in the tornado’s direct path. Two weeks into the recovery, many have been moved oi’l the fields and insurance companies are busy busy busy in town and on farms.
Grain bins and sheds and other building pieces were also spread across the fields. A plum bush tencerow now sports blooms of pink insulation material. Efficient farmers hustled and got the materials off their newly planted and now growing fields and piled them in the ditches. Now what? Whose responsibility is it to remove the twisted tin and lumber? The farmers? It may not have been his building or bin. The County Road Department? Are there Disaster Relief funds for this?
When the mountains of rubble are moved, when the trees leaf out and hide their damage, when houses are repaired, rebuilt or removed, maybe we won’t be thinking about the storm every day. But that time hasn’t come yet. Every trip to town goes by miles of snapped power poles, dodges giant trash containers, and passes contractor trucks. But we are healing, and it is through the Grace of God and his human hands on earth. When you come to Beaver Crossing the next time, it will look different, but we are still “Gods Gift to the Blue River Valley.”