July Tornado ’17

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storm damage header twisted summer

Mother nature can be twisted, indeed. This summer will definitely go down in the history books as the summer of twin tornados. It’s the talk of the town. They officially confirmed there were two F1’s that did some pretty destructive work. We suffered a tree through the roof, but fared a lot better than some. Luckily everyone was okay! Since we took a bunch of photos and videos for insurance purposes, we might as well share ’em.

Here’s the aftermath and tree removal. This footage is sped up to x10. Before you think we were lounging about, know we were pulling our weight chopping and hauling logs from the front yard. We lost three or four trees up front and we wanted to harvest the fire wood. Insurance only covers trees that hit your house, so we rolled up our sleeves and pulled a 14-hour day of lumberjacking.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to help or lend us chainsaws, boom trucks or wood splitters, or if you cooked us a meal or lent us a shower or hot cup of coffee while the power was out. You know who you are.

Living Through a Tornado

Fun fact: Tornados are my biggest fear in life. At least they were until we actually experienced one firsthand. Running the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I’ll try to paint the picture of how it all went down. July 12th, 2017. It was a dark and stormy night … just kidding. I won’t get that level of theatrical on you.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

But the whole storm did come on without any warning or sirens. I remember it was a perfect night and I looked at the upcoming forecast and saw nothing on the radar but clear skies.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

What woke us up from a dead sleep was a tree falling on the roof right over our heads at 2:45 am. There wasn’t even time to be afraid, for better or worse. We all knew it was serious and could only react, running on pure adrenaline. It was one of those moments where time freezes temporarily, and everything is crystal clear. When your heartbeat seems to slow way down and all your energy is used to survey the situation and those prehistoric animal-brain instincts kick in, automatically and miraculously telling your body how to breathe and pump blood and focus in on one piece of information at a time. And then it was over.

Not quite like The Matrix, but kinda. After the main smash and gusts of wind, only lasting 15-20 minutes, the boys were in fix-it mode. I stayed downstairs and could hear Joe cursing up a storm of his own, dealing with water coming into the house and a big ol’ tree in a closet. After several hours of fumbling around in the dark with only flashlights, we made some key phone calls, checked on the negihbors and assessed the damage until the morning. I don’t think Joe slept a wink, but I fell back asleep somewhere between 5 and 6 am until the sound of camera crews and service vehicles woke me up around 8. Then I took a little walk around the block with my point-and-shoot.

Neighborhood Walkabout

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

This is our large tree that split and landed in the new neighbors’ house.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

We were even featured on a state news channel and our neighbor is on camera saying, “I just moved in two months ago.” Nothing says, ‘Welcome to the neighborhood’ like a tree through the kitchen.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

We’re not sure if this one was struck by lightning or not. These trees usually uproot, so we were all lucky that it didn’t. It would have been even worse.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

They definitely took the brunt of this one.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Here’s our neighbors’ deck two houses down. Speared by a large branch.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Here’s a smaller tree that hit our garage.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

It split and landed on itself so elegantly, just teetering on a toothpick.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Another tree down the street.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Pretty much everywhere you looked.

Power Lines

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Two huge power lines a couple streets down.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Remember all those lovely power lines I was worried about?

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Yeah, they all went down. July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Went down in flames, actually. There was power arcing in the streets at 3 am, so Joe had to call 911.July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

The fire department couldn’t even get down our street until the next day. We were without power for two full days.July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MNThe sheriffs’ department called us personally to make sure we were all okay. Seriously, the first responders and work crews were all amazing! The tree removal company worked their tails off.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

More down power lines outside our driveway.July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

And more. July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

And a few more.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Huge trees were uprooted.
July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

For scale.July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Our House

I know we wanted to focus on outdoor projects this year, but maybe we should be careful what we wish for next time…

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

It was like a jungle for a couple days.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

With random pieces of different houses scattered around.July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

I don’t think this was ours.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Here’s the tree we took. Technically the neighbors’ tree. It’s crazy that their tree went straight north into us and our tree went southeast into them. But the patio umbrella that always flies away, even if you blow on it, was perfectly still. Meanwhile, deck boxes and beach chairs were launched half a football field away. Definitely some rotation happening, we just knew.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Here’s the majority of the damage to our roof.
July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

The second big tree struck just above our roommate’s closet. There was water leaking down from the ceiling here and down into the basement.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Of course, Joe jumped up into the attic not 15 mintes after the tree hit to put a bucket up there and caulk the roof. That actually probably saved us a bunch of extra water damage, not that I endorse being up there during a storm.July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

We know for sure there are about six trusses cracked.July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Our priority that week was clearing away the brush, logs and debris.July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Hoping to head into the repair phase soon, but there are a few steps between here and there.July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

You really can’t help but stand back and be in awe.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

Kind of beautiful.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

This is a great angle. Again, we were lucky it didn’t fall any further into the house. Or if the trees had reversed falling roles, we would have both taken on much worse damage. Pure weirdness.

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

This used to be our hammock tree. :,(

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

The carribeaner just snapped like a twig.  July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

View of tree in our house.

When Life Gives you Lemons

July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

We have enough firewood for about 10 years, so it’s a good thing we like having indoor fires during the Minnesota winters. We’ll need to save on heating since we just lost the biggest source of shade over our house. Hello AC bill hike.July 2017 tornado damage Minnesota MN

This is only a very small pile. We’re almost done splitting wood, a month later.

lanterns tornado

The werid thing is, it was all kind of fun. I know that sounds derranged (and it could have been because we were a little sleep deprived and slightly bewildered), but we didn’t get discouraged. We were happy to be alive and safe. We’re happy to still have more trees. We have a friend who lost all their trees. We know neighbors whose docks were completely corkscrewed, whose pontoons flipped and whose houses split into multiple pieces. We feel very lucky, and to be honest, we’re still in the thick of it and probably haven’t had enough time and space to fully decompress and reflect. We are grateful there are good people in the world to step up and lend a hand when disaster strikes. And if not having running water and power for two days was the worst of it, we are pretty blessed. Plus, I got to use my lantern collection!

Not that everything is peachy, I’m just saying situations like that have a way of putting life into perspective. And you know what? I’m not so afraid of storms anymore, honestly. I’ve conquered my big fear. Currently, we’re weeding through insurance claims, contractors, timelines, budgets and line items. This part may turn out to be the scary part! We’ll keep you posted. I already have some good tips and we’re learning so much. But damn if I’m not ready for it to be fall already.

Did you get storm damage this year, too?

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