Saturday, July 28, 2012

Elmira area survives 3 tornado strikes...

My friend Mary and I had gone to get an ice cream cone when the tornado hit here on Thursday. We rode the storm out parked behind the concrete building, but the wind and rain was so bad at times we could not see right across the street. Then the hail started-but luckily it was small and only lasted a few minutes. But the wind rocked my SUV like it only weighed 2 pounds instead of 2000 pounds. Really scary.

Once we decided it was safe to start home, we had to dodge flooded streets and huge trees down all over. The 4-lane highway thru the center of town was like a battle zone. We even had to drive up on the medium to get around the trees down across the road. And what huge trees they were! Root balls as big around as a car were pulled up like nothing.  One aluminum building was picked up by the wind and tossed over a chain link fence and came down with bushes and limbs across the highway we were on.

Wires down all over, but only one I saw near my house had fire burning. The tree had been struck by lightening and split off a large limb that took down the power lines. The fire scorched the tree but then the wire was on the wet ground snapping and popping around with sparks. Scorched the ground, too, but the wet put the fire out.

A local fire equipment company had part of the roof torn off on the way to Mary's house.  Her street had trees down on both side and several sets of wires down.  The top of a huge pine tree in front of her house was snapped off like kindling and, thank God, was laying across the yard away from the house.

After I dropped Mary off at her house, I had to do a lot of backing up, turning around, and detouring to find streets open to get back to my house. We had 2 big limbs down across the driveway and some flashing torn off the peak of our roof on one side, but thankfully that was all.  Two houses down from me a huge maple tree had been knocked down onto the roof of a house and another huge pine tree was down across the road.   I watched the fire department, electric company, and city crew working til after dark struggling to get my street open because it is a county highway with lots of traffic.  And traffic was backed up for hours with alternating the one small lane open while they worked.
We went Thursday and Friday without power, but again, luckily the tornados had cooled off the heat, so it wasn't in the 90's like it had been before the tornado came thru. We didn't get power back til after 9pm last night and I waited til today to fire up the computer.

But we're fine and that's what counts. Pretty much all cleaned up and DD's friend came today and put the flashing back on the roof peak that was torn off. Limbs are out on the edge of the street and yesterday I cleaned the porch and chairs and picked up twigs and tree debris from the back yard. Today my back is hurting so I am taking it easy so I will be ready for our quilt group's monthly get-together at the Fire Hall.
Here are pics of some of the damage around us.


Elmira College Campus


Brick building partially demolished

YWCA and County Courthouse

Ernie Davis Statue standing surrounded by downed trees

Building blown onto Clemens Center Pkwy

Thank God there was no loss of life here or in the other 2 communities where the tornado also hit.

Until next time...

Happy quilting from Sharon, Katie, and Patsy Cline


Bonnie said...

Wow ... your town had a lot of damage. Glad you are ok. Your quilting will be waiting for you when you are not so tired.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad everyone was safe! That is so much damage.

Nanette said...

Thank God there was no life loss and you had minimal damage. Hope you are feeling well enough to sew soon.

MooseStash Quilting said...

So glad to hear that you and Mary are safe and doing well. Scary what tornados can do isn't it? While nothing is funny, I did have to laugh at the sight of the porta-potty, over turned in the street. Not so funny if you were in it when it hit, but funny to me none the less! What a shame to see all the tree damage. It took so many years for them to get to the size they were. Sending my best wishes for your community!

ytsmom said...

It's sad to see those big trees go, just knowing how long it will take for replacements to grow big.

Vic in NH said...

Thank you for your most excellent reporting on this horrific event. All of your pictures really tell the story of what you and the community survived. So glad you are alright!