I guess the first sirens went off around 1:30 on Friday morning. The first one that went off was the one to my East and behind me around War Memorial Golf Course. I have to guess at this because I noticed that the alarm clock was flickering. So the power had gone off at least at some time in the night.
Springtime can be exceptionally deadly in Arkansas. Friday morning was no exception. The storm struck when most folks were in their beds. Sirens or no sirens, a bad storm can get on top of you in a hurry. Last time I looked 8 people had died. 2 children. Most likely the toll will be worse before it is all said and done.
I raised up in the bed. The light from the wet bar that I had forgot to turn off before turning in was streaming into the living room. I noticed that the ceiling fan was chugging away. So I had power. So far so good.
The siren had no sooner gone silent than it cranked back up again only to be answered by the one that sounded like it was coming from Leawood over where Rick and Sharon live. 4 years ago a tornado touched down over there. I found out about it from Don over in North Carolina who was watching the Weather Channel. For some reason he remembered that I lived not too far from Mississippi Avenue which was being traversed at the time by a twister. Small world.
Then a third siren. This one sounded like it was coming from around Catholic High. The mournful call and response of the three sentinels coming as they were from 3 different areas was kind of extraordinary. But then again, I had nothing better to do at the time than lay there and listen.
I next heard the unmistakable crack and ping of hail on the roof and against the wall. I decided to get up and take a look outside if only to make sure that my little house was not en route to Kansas. I walked into the kitchen. Trees bent. Stuff hitting the windows. Hail and sirens. It occurred to me that this must have been what London might have been like during the Battle of London. Very little light and lots of noise. And the call and response of the sirens.
Eventually, they die down and I returned to bed. The next morning I noticed that my cable and Internet were dead. So I made a call to Comcast. The disembodied voice said that they were aware of the problem and technicians were hard at work. I checked Facebook. Messages from all over. Trees down. Power outages. Wrecks. Which schools were open?
I checked the Internet on my Blackberry. 18,000 without power in Pulaski County alone. Wow. Some storm.
As I walked to the car on my way to work I had a sense that something was amiss. I turned around and noticed that the gate to my privacy fence was wide open. Upon further inspection I saw that the force of the wind put such torque on the gate that the latch sheared completely away from the wood. If you need a lock for your fence I can recommend Masters. It may have caused the latch to fail but I have to say the lock didn't break.
The aftermath: Called handyman to fix the gate. E-mail to insurance company to send somebody to inspect the roof. Calls and texts to and from friends to make sure everybody's OK. E-mails from out of state folks who were just seeing the news.
Another Springtime in Arkansas where Mother Nature tries to kill us about 3 times before giving it up for Summer. Such is life in these here parts.