Beth was supposed to be driving home right through the area at the time it hit. I couldn't get through to her on the phone. It took her a lot longer to get home because she couldn't get through on most of the streets.
The boys were at a friend's birthday party at the time. Their house happened to be right in the path of the tornado. No trees were left on their street. Beth went to pick them up (I had to get to church because I was preaching) and had to park a few blocks away and climb over trees to get them. Thankfully, they were fine and handled it all fairly well.
When we got home from church I (and a friend who was staying with us last night) ran to some friends' house to bring their frozen goods back to our freezer since they were out of power. On our way back we went a few blocks over to see what we could see. Just four blocks away from us trees were uprooted. We, thankfully, had no damage. But it was close. Very close.
This morning Anders didn't have school. The boys and I biked down to the center where Urban Homeworks and the Sanctuary CDC were running volunteer opportunities out of. There wasn't much I could do with the kids along as far as clean-up went, but we were able to help get volunteer waivers and other forms to where they needed to go. We made a few trips on the bike. There was a huge turnout of volunteers--I've heard around 600. Which is great; there is a lot of work to do.
In the past 24 hours the helicopters have been flying overhead constantly. Police cars and fire trucks have been all over. Streets have been blocked off. Nearby streets and landmarks have been flashing across the news. It's been very surreal.
We're in an area that often gets a bad rap as being the bad part of town. But most people have been out there helping their neighbor as best they can. People coming from all over to help and seeing the heart of the people in this neighborhood.
And so we pray...for those who have lost much (including the families of two who lost their lives), for those without a place to stay, for those without electricity, for continued safety and cleanup. And we'll do whatever else we can.
*Top picture from Kare11.com, bottom picture from Jeremy & Sarah Scheller