This wasn't the post I planned for our first day back from vacation, but there are times when you see something that touches you and you must collect your thoughts on it.
On Wednesday, June 1st, Western Massachusetts was hit by severe storms that included thunder and lightning, rain, hail, and several tornado touch downs. We lost power for two days, and we spent the night before flying out to Disney at my in-laws' house, whose community was amazingly untouched by the tornadoes that led Governor Deval Patrick to declare a State of Emergency. It wasn't a great start to our vacation, but it was more of an annoyance for us than to the many people throughout Western Massachusetts who still have not been able to return to their homes.
That night, I found myself dismally unprepared for such an unexpected event. My husband called from his office to say he could see the funnel from his window. Within minutes, we had lost electricity at the house and I scrambled to find batteries to work even one of our radios. I started bottling water and prayed.
As the girls and I listened to updated reports on a radio that literally fit in the palm of my hand, I could only imagine what it looked like out there beyond the view from my house. I heard of roofs being torn off buildings, people trapped in cars, and some being forced to seek shelter when they couldn't get home. We had no electricity, no phone, and cell phone service was so sporadic that for a span of several hours, we were totally cut off from the outside world. In between this mess, my husband thankfully made it home safely.
When all was said and done, four people died and dozens were injured. On the drive home from the airport yesterday, we had a chance to view some of the damage from last week's tornadoes. It left me speechless. Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed. Once familiar landscapes have been forever changed. Thousands of majestic trees have been uprooted and many that remain had their tops sheered right off.
Our local schools, utility companies, police and fire personnel, and numerous volunteers are working together to clean up from this horrific event that caused home owners to file insurance claims totalling $90 million, according to this Boston Herald article.
I hope you'll keep everyone affected by the recent storms in your thoughts and prayers. Right now we're definitely counting our blessings.
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