I scurried to my Prius just ahead of a torrential downpour and, to my horror, could not get my car started. Why? It was already “on.” In my frantic haste to get the vehicle started and drive the approximately one to two miles to 22nd Avenue Court up Kennedy Drive, I was panicking.Finally, I realized that the entire time I was inside the UPS store, my car had been idling (as Priuses do). I turned it off and on again and began driving the sub-road towards Kennedy Drive, to the west. While passing the elderly high rise on my right, a man walking a dog in the downpour was nearly swept into the ditch by the high winds, which were at least 70 to 80 miles per hour. The radio was now reporting that two semi-trailer trucks had overturned on I80.
When I reached the intersection of the sub-road and Kennedy Drive by Midwest Bank and the Blackhawk College building, intending to turn north towards the river, two cars had pulled over and stopped. Why? We could barely see, even with our windshield wipers on high.
I was just about to pull around the two stopped vehicles when they finally began to move. I turned right onto Kennedy and was driving home, but branches from trees were hitting my windshield. My small car was difficult to drive in the heavy rain. Visibility: awful. Hydroplaning: a distinct possibility.
It was then that I noticed a tree on my left that was bent nearly to the ground. It was not a huge tree—more of a sapling, but probably at least ten feet tall—and I quickly calculated that I could move to the far right on the road and, if it fell in the road, it would miss my car. Which is exactly what happened just as I reached the spot (midway up Kennedy Drive from Jewel/Osco): the tree crashed to the pavement right in front of my car, but I was able to drive around it safely.
I reached 3rd St. B (or 22nd Avenue Court) and the garage door was up. I was surprised, but grateful, as I thought electricity would be out (which it was for 22,029 customers late Monday night), in which case the garage door opener would not have worked.
As I entered the house after putting the garage door down, I went immediately to the basement. I remember being in a tornado in Independence, Iowa, when I was a little girl. We went to the storm cellar. It dropped the roof of St. John’s Church, only 2 blocks away, into my back yard. My father built me a playhouse with the wood and debris. (We called it “the Hookey”).
We did not lose our electricity Monday night, but we did lose MediaCom until after 10 p.m., which meant no final winning game of the Chicago BlackHawks/Boston series and no premiere of “Under the Dome.” No computer or phone, either.
Tornado funnels were reported in Atkinson and Van Orin in Illinois, as well as near Mechanicsville, Solon and Muscatine in Iowa.(4 counties in Iowa were declared to be disaster areas). Tornado sirens never sounded in Muscatine, supposedly because the storm moved too fast for the radar to pick up. Wind speed was said to be 100 mph within the Muscatine tornado, which ripped the roof off the Calvary Church with 4 people inside. By the time the radar picked up the storm, it had moved past Muscatine. Muscatine mayor Dewayne Hopkins is holding a special meeting on Friday regarding the failure to warn residents about the tornado.Heavy rains Sunday and Monday lifted the Green River in Geneseo more than 11 feet in just 24 hours. The National Weather Service reported that 4.42 inches of rain fell at the Quad City International Airport on Monday, which topped the previous record set in 1993 of 3.65 inches.
The Mississippi River, at 6 p.m. on Monday, was at 14 feet. Flood stage is 15 feet. It is expected to rise to 17.9 feet to 19 feet by Sunday. The Blues Festival is being moved inside to 3rd St. and the Adler Theater and River Drive is being closed for the fourth time this year, a record. A crest of 12.4 feet is expected in LeClaire on June 30th.
The Rock River, which reached record highs earlier this year, was at 11.4 feet in Moline at 7 p.m. and will cross the 12-foot flood stage and reach 12.8 feet on Thursday. At Joslin, the Rock River was at 11.6 feet at 7 p.m. Monday and expected to crest on Thursday at 13.5 feet.
One of the hardest hit areas in the metropolitan area was Short Hills Country Club, which reported that, of the 835 total trees at Short Hills, 30 were down and there was damage to at least 100 others ,which I have pictured here. Most of the damage was limited to trees on the course, although one tree fell on the bridge on hole 15. Another tree fell on the restroom shack next to the Number One green.I hope that my book signing at SouthPark’s BookWorld on Saturday, June 29th, from 1 to 4 p.m. experiences calmer weather! Come see me as I launch the second book in “The Color of Evil” trilogy, winner of 3 national awards. No admission, and I’ll give away a book of the winner’s choice at 2, 3 and 4 p.m.