Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Derecho Update from Cedar Rapids

I've got a few moments this morning so I thought I'd update everyone on what's been happening here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa since I last posted. 

We continue to clean up. The National Weather Service has determined that we had a category 3 hurricane blow through Iowa. Cedar Rapids was the hardest hit area, along with Marion, which is a small city that borders Cedar Rapids. It's part of our Metro area, and where I work at the Marion Public Library as the Collection Development Manager. 

Tree debris is everywhere. The National Guard arrived in town about a week ago and has been working to clean up the debris. It's hard to imagine, but literally every block of Cedar Rapids and Marion (and all the surrounding small towns) have damage and trees down. Every. single. home. No one escaped without some kind of damage to their property. The City of CR is working block by block to pick up tree debris, and plans on making three trips around the city to collect it all. 

I finally had power come back on last Friday. I was without power for 12 days. I spent the first week at my house at night, but ended up staying at my partner's home for the next week. He borrowed a generator from a friend so at least we had some lights and a fan! We managed to save a good amount of our food, but ended up having to throw away a lot of defrosted meat and fish, along with other groceries. I consider myself very lucky. My home sustained minimal damage, and what food was spoiled we can replace. So many are not so lucky. 

I did lose a few trees in my back yard. One tree was a Japanese maple that my friends at Barnes & Noble gifted me when my dad passed away in 2004. It was snapped by another tree falling on it. That made me cry more than anything. My big old tree is coming down; today is the last day the crew will be here to finish up cutting it down. I've cried about that, too, even though it was a tree that caused me lots of aggravation over the years-it dropped branches and bits and pieces continuously! But it also suffered a lot of damage and was best to take it down. My partner and I measured the trunk yesterday and with some calculations, figured it was about 100 years old. Which fits in with my home, which was built in 1927. My yard already looks completely bare. I can say with 100% certainty that I will never have a tree planted close to any future home I live in ever again. I've seen so much destruction from trees falling on homes, cars, garages. Homes split in two by trees crashing down on them. Cars crushed. 

I've been busy helping haul tree debris, and working with my fellow library staffers moving our collection out of our damaged library and getting it set up in a temporary space. Lots of organizing to make it easier for us to find materials when we are ready to open again in our new, temporary spaces. We've been serving the community by volunteering where help was needed, and having a tech space set up at a nearby park for people to recharge phones and personal devices. 

Clean up and getting back to "normal" will be a very long process. 

I haven't been reading much; I've been so tired at night I can't focus long enough to read more than a few pages. But a new month is not far away, and I plan on getting back to it and diving into the books I've got waiting here at home. 

I am healthy, I have food and a home, a job, and good people around me. I am lucky. 

My tree after the Derecho. 

My tree after the crew has worked on taking it down. August 24th, 2020. 

Measured the trunk of the tree for posterity. 

The debris behind my house. This it what every home is like on every block of Cedar Rapids. 

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