Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tremendous Storm...

Last night we had an impressively powerful storm (actually mutiple storms) rip through the northern suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul, destroying homes, snapping trees and telephone poles, causing flooding, and doing various other damage. Around 6:30pm I started watching the sky to the North, as it became filled almost continuously with lightning. I stepped outside of my building, and watched West for a few minutes to gauge the likelihood of it hitting us. Within 2-3 minutes I could see the edge of the front coming like a freight train, right towards us. I told the other man who was with me to grab his kids and run for shelter in the building. He is new here, and doesn't know our weather, so he wisely complied, because just as they pulled the door open to their apartment (adjacent to my building) the skys let loose. Within 20 minutes we had 70-80 mile per hour sustained winds, combined with hail and significant amounts of rain. We got 5-6 inches over the evening, but it's hard to tell exactly because it was blowing so hard. Tornado sirens went off, power went out, and all the Seminary Village residents made their way into the basements of our buildings, for what turned out to be a long evening. Power went out at 7:00PM and was finally restored around 10:00AM today. There was a tree that snapped and landed on the car of some new students from my building. We pulled that off inbetween storms, and thanfully the car seemed undamaged, which is impressive considering how big the tree was, and how compressed it made the front suspension. Much of the North Metro area has/had no power, something in excess of 200,000 people without power last night, and in some places estimates of 7 days before it will get back on. They are sending out Weather Service planes to determine if the damage was caused by straight line winds, or tornados. Around 11:00PM the storms had reduced in strength and moved on enough that everyone went back to their own apartments to try and get some sleep. We all get to throw out some groceries now I guess, but we made it without any significant damage on campus. A man was killed a few miles from here when a tree snapped and hit him. I can only imagine what 165mph winds will do to the Gulf Coast.

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