So, Sunday morning, I head into Washington, IL to do my weekly grocery shopping at the Kroger supermarket. I know that a storm is coming around 10am so I get in early at 8am and out by 9am and back home. Then the rain and wind and hail start...
... but none of this is something I care too much about. I've been less than a mile from a tornado about 25 years while I was in high school once before; what's a little wind, rain, or hail?
So about 11am, I make lunch as I skipped breakfast. Just as I sit down to eat, I hear the air sirens and got to the basement. I listen to my weather radio and about 11:20am, the power goes out and the sirens stayed on for about 5 minutes after that. Then, I come back upstairs and see that my house is fine, my neighbors all seem fine and other than a little damage to the siding, no real cause for concern right?
Then my cell phone goes crazy, my brother, parents, aunts, grandparents, co-workers all call me because of the tornado (Category 4 is what I'm hearing today) hit Washington. After about 5 hours, my phone's battery is done so I don't know just how big the impact really is until Monday morning.
I still don't have power so I decided to drive around a little to charge up the phone. And then I see long lines of cars on the side of road due to police blockades. They are trying to find out why people were headed toward the "disaster areas" as they called them. I head out towards Peoria proper and buy some lunch, call some friends and family and just go into shock as to how much destruction occurred. After getting through the police roadblock to my house, I just spent the afternoon reflecting on how lucky I've been the last 2 days. Just about 7pm, power was restored which was nice as with no power, I had no heat and it was going to near freezing tonight.
I've seen a couple of diaries asking what they can do to help and while I do not have any good links to add to this or to point people to go to, I do know what I'm doing tomorrow. I'm going to call the various agencies in the area and volunteer with whatever they can find me to do. I'm going to donate some older clothes that I've been too lazy to donate before today to Goodwill.
Thanks to whomever reads this. This is more of a rant for my sake than anything else.