Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Typhoon? Tropical Storm? I do live in Kentucky, right?

This may sound redundant, but the weather keeps happening:
My daughter's softball game was at 6:30 this evening, about 45 minutes away in another county.  When it was over, we decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants down on the river for dinner.  My grandparents decided to go straight home...my boyfriend didn't go to the game because he had to work late...my daughter and I had gone with my mom since I try not to drive anymore, ever (and it's a good thing I wasn't driving for this...).
We take the turn onto River Road, happily oblivious to the darkening sky, admiring the trees and the water and the houses and the boats, going on our way...
And then, the wind picks up and I see leaves and twigs flying around in the air above us.  Immediately, I knew. 
We kept our calm for a few seconds, kept driving, until suddenly we were in a bad remake of the movie "Twister", only we would have to replace the tornadoes with a hurricane.
The problems with driving on River Road in bad weather are:
1. The road is, amazingly enough, right next to the really, really big Ohio River.
2. It is lined with lots of trees.
3. There are no commercial businesses at which to stop for help.  It's mainly private property, boat docks, and country clubs.
These things are not necessarily bad things, unless you happen to be driving along it when the worst storm in 30 years comes out of nowhere, and there you are.
The wind slammed into us at 80 miles per hour, thanks to the fact that it was coming down from Indiana and had picked up speed going across the really big river.  The trees bent sideways and, I swear, the river looked like the pictures you see of beaches during hurricanes...it was blowing in waves over the docks.
The trees started falling down.  Remember the movie "Twister"?  We reenacted it in the car.  My mom driving, me yelling "Left!", "Right!", "Tree!"...and my mom even said at one point, completely without irony and with total fear, "We have to get offthis road."
I really thought, for a while there, that we were not going to make it home.  It's probably moved to the top of the list of the most terrifying things I've ever experienced.  Especially because my daughter was in the car...I just knew we were going to either get crushed by a tree, or be blown off the road. 
And we were just lucky, because some cars were.
When we were both completely panicked and sure we were going to die because we didn't know where to go to get away from the falling trees, I remembered to call my boyfriend, because he knows everything (well, about that area at least, since he works down there)...he directed me to the expressway, where the rain was falling in sheets and we couldn't see and the leaves and twigs were still flying through the air and everyone else on the road had pulled over under the overpasses...except us, of course, because after the terrifying experience we had on River Road, we were in complete panic, running mode.
When we finally made it home, every channel was covering the unexpected fury of this storm.  The final tallies:
Hundreds and hundreds of trees down, including over 100 down on River Road itself, and over 100,000 people in the area without power, the worst outage since the F5 tornado of 1974. 
All I could do when we got safely inside the house was cling to my daughter and thank God that we were alive, with the images in my head of all those falling trees that managed to miss us.
Note: It's starting to rain again and I see lightning through the window, so I guess I'll shut down for the night while I still have power.
Life tastes better, right now...