Monday, April 18, 2011

On Tornadoes

So this past weekend, as seen above, the weather got more than a little crazy down here in North Carolina.

Thankfully where we live (near Chapel Hill) was spared of anything more than some strong winds and loud thunderstorms, but severe damage happened in plenty of other areas, including Raleigh, our capital city. It was strange to be sitting at home, constantly checking my phone to see if we needed to take cover and then waiting to hear reports from folks in other areas.

All told, there were about 62 tornadoes that touched down across the state, and over 20 lives that were lost.  Shaw University, a historically black college/university (HBCU) in the downtown area, sustained so much damage that it has closed for the remainder of the semester. Raleigh City Cemetery, a historic landmark that contained lots of very old oak trees, didn't fare well either, as shown in this video. More pictures of the storm and damage across the state can be seen here.

Having lived and worked in this area (including right near where the video was taken), it's a bit surreal to see photos of the devastation posted online from places with which I'm familiar. It seems as if these things are supposed to only happen 'somewhere else,' not to one's own community. Intellectually I know that this isn't the case, and that tragedies can happen anywhere, to anyone, and at any time, but deep down it seems there's a little part of me that feels otherwise.

Clearly I'm still paying attention to reports on this and will be sending thoughts and prayers to those impacted. I'm also searching for ways to help, at least in some small way. This Twitter feed has posted some great opportunities, so if you're local definitely check it out.

That's all for now, except to say that I'm feeling extremely fortunate that Kate and I, as well as all the friends we've heard from, are safe and sound. It easily could have been otherwise.

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