We got what meteorologists call "a land hurricane." Simply put, we got one heck of a wind storm. Below is a photo taken by a Lynchburg resident of the sky as the storm rolled in.
Our power went out around nine that night. I lit candles and our antique kerosene lamp while Calvin and I waited for the power to return. Little did we know we'd have a five-day wait--five hot, miserable days.
Strong winds knocked down power lines, traffic lights and took out trees. Our city suffered a lot of damage. According to our local newspaper, over 1050 felled trees had to be cleared away. Is it any wonder, one week later, many residents of Lynchburg are still without power?
Roads were blocked by uprooted trees. Debris littered roads. Traffic lights were out of commission. Both of our hospitals were running on generators. Of the six McDonalds in the hill city, only one was open. One of the three multi-plex theaters had power. What few restaurants with electricity were running out of certain foods and gas stations were low on gas.
Calvin called around to every motel to find us an air-conditioned room. What hotels had power were booked up with other sweltering souls in search of cool surroundings. We smothered at night and left the house during the day, looking for anyplace that had both air conditioning and Wi-Fi.
The whole awful experience was a teachable moment. We're very grateful for what we'd taken for granted. Now when our fingers turn on a light switch, we're thankful for lights. There's profound gratitude for a cool bedroom at night and hot water in the showers.
Many businesses allowed customers to charge their cell phones and laptops and iPads. Bob Evans was very gracious to us, sitting us near outlets so we could power-up while we ate.
This calamity also brought out the worst in some people. Crime is up. Generators have been stolen. And one night, near eleven o'clock, someone banged on our front door. Calvin grabbed the flashlight on his nightstand and headed for the front door. Soon someone banged on our back door. Once Calvin flashed the beam of the light, whoever it was ran off. Evidently they were checking to see if anyone was home before breaking in to loot the place.