Highland Park Storm - July 2nd 1997

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6:00pm: Laurenn arrives home. Early warning sounds on the radio. Ricky - our dog - goes into the basement. (Unusual behavior.)

6:03pm: I switch off my computer and bring in the glass table from the back balcony.

6:07pm: Streetlights go on; it's getting very dark.

6:10pm: I hear sirens to the west of us. Tornadoes have been spotted.

6:17pm: It is as dark as midnight outside. Laurenn is about to go onto the back porch to get our neighbors dog into our house. As she opens the door I hear a sound in the distance like an oncoming train. I've heard it before - in a cyclone I experienced in Mexico.
"Into the basement - Now!" Laurenn and I run down the stairs to the basement.

6:18pm: The wind outside is reaching a tremendous velocity. There is loud crash above us and the lights go out. It is all over in less than five seconds.

6:20pm: We stumble about looking for candles or a flashlight in the pitch black basement - to no avail.

6:21pm: I venture upstairs. There is still thunder and lightning; the storm is receding although it is pouring with rain. I look outside the windows onto the street and I can hardly believe my eyes; trees are down everywhere.

6:22pm: Going upstairs, I find various cats huddled in assorted corners of the second floor. Insulation from the roof is in every room of the floor. The attic door is open and the window at the top of the stairs is gone - as if blown in by a hand grenade.

Aftermath: Major branches of the maple tree were blown off, smashing into the roof of the house and coming to rest between houses. One branch flipped over the roof, smashed the pine tree in the front garden and landed on the front porch.
Another major branch has settled on our back balcony.

My next door neighbor to the east has been less fortunate. A large maple tree snapped at the top and the major limb broke through the roof.
Elsewhere on the street, cars and houses lay crushed under fallen trees, Chimneys toppled, and everywhere - everywhere trees are shredded. It is a surreal landscape; a Hollywood set - a Jurassic Park look-alike.

July 7th: Electricity came back on yesterday. Today the authorities are picking up the immense amount of wood and branches that the citizens have piled beside the road.
Things are returning to normalcy. Everyone is waiting for the insurance appraiser.

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