Tornado

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They trimmed the trees every day it didn’t rain while we were in Fort Lauderdale. The hood of the poor little silver car under the tree took a battering.

We are staying in a five-star resort.

That is a good thing, right?

Well… 

Our room is gorgeous. It’s beautifully decorated. The layout is cute and trendy. There is a whirlpool bathtub I love. However, the widescreen television has a grainy picture. And worse yet…

We don’t have internet in our rooms.

Everyone has internet! Everyone! The resort management assured us we WILL be able to go online. They tell us how to get to the internet room for guests which is conveniently located blocks away in the resort office.

DH and I check it out.

The room is not large. Jam-packed, with 6 computers on desks pushed end-to-end and people waiting, it is a little crowded. We are told to be considerate of other guests and not to take up more than 15 minutes of time. YIKES!

The resort does offer classes. I can learn to make a vacation scrapbook. I can do morning stretches in the pool at 6 a.m. I can play bingo or take the shuttle bus to tourist attractions.

But, I want to read books outside…preferably on a beach with warm breezes.  Unfortunately, the company that booked our vacation didn’t book a resort on the beach for our time in Fort Lauderdale. We are in a building six stories high that is one of over a hundred. People are everywhere. There is a pool. But you have to get up early to snag a lounge chair. You also have to be able to ignore the tree trimming going on by the pool.  (See the youtube video at the top of this post.)

It didn’t help that we had days of rain in Fort Lauderdale accompanied by tornado watches and warnings.

We also had some excitement when an ambulance was called to our building in the early hours of the morning.  Just like with Britney Spears there were cops and a young woman that was eventually strapped down to a stretcher and taken away.

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An ambulance was called to the room below ours.

But, the worst trouble in our Fort Lauderdale paradise happened at a convenience store/gas station.

My husband got gas, ordered a “drive-through” carwash and paid for both at the gas pump. 

Only there was no carwash code on his receipt. My husband tried to go in the store to get either a code or refund. The door was locked.

It was noon.

My husband and another customer (who’d also ordered a carwash) could  see a cashier at the register inside the store. They knocked on the window. The cashier ignored them. 

My husband called the cashier on his cell phone.

 “We’re closed.” said the cashier.

“We need either a carwash code or our money back,” said my husband.

The door stayed shut.

I know a good story for my blog when I see one. I started taking pictures of the gas station. And…the cashier opened the door and gave my husband and the other customer carwash codes.

We’d won.

Sort of…

The other customer who’d ordered a carwash was a lady. So my husband let her go first.

Which was lucky for us.

Halfway through washing the lady’s SUV, the “drive-through” carwash broke down. The lady’s SUV was covered with soap and green chemicals. And, while the clerk had left the door to the store unlocked, she refused to do more. She didn’t  offer the lady with the SUV a hose or bucket of water to rinse her vehicle. I didn’t see her give the lady a refund.

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This poor SUV is covered with soap and green chemicals.

We left. We didn’t get our Jeep washed that day. I don’t know what happened to the lady with soap all over her SUV.

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This is “the” gas station.

But, in my opinion, this gas station earned its place on my blog.

Fortunately, rainbows often follow rain. After Fort Lauderdale we headed for Ft. Myers Beach

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Fort Myers beach.

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The Dairy Queen AFTER the tornado.

HERE’S a video of the employees of the Napanee Dairy Queen a few minutes before the tornado hit. Note the response as the employees get phone call after warning phone call…the lights go on and off, the sky grows yellow…and then there are sirens.

Fortunately, the employees  took cover inside a restroom and survived.

More pictures of the tornado are here and here.

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Tornado Warning Siren

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On vacation
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On vacation 2
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Marathon Gas Station and Convenience Store Sign
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1″ thick steel on bottom of Marathon sign bent from the tornado.
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Marathon Service Station
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Marathon Service Station 2
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Closeup of all that is left of the Marathon Station’s convenience store.
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House and bulldozer
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Rubble
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Taco Bell
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Taco Bell 2

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Lawn and Garden store with Wizard of Oz truck over former Nappanee citizen. (Actually, it’s a man changing his tire.)

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Rubble

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Utility workers haven’t had a day off since the tornado.

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Human Resource Services

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The petunias in front of the Lawn and Garden Store in the “Lawn Boy Flower Box” not only survived the storm but sprang back up.

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Fairmont Homes

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Fairmont Homes 2

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Fairmont Homes 3

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Fairmont Homes 4

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Fairmont Homes 5

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Fairmont Homes 6

From Tuesday, October 23, 2007 headlines:

Kevin Yoder is one of many who lost his home. He also lost his business, barn, and many of his animals in the tornado. Monday morning, about 75 people showed up to start the rebuilding process.

Church’s insurance company says the building is not salvageable, and will have to be torn down

Nappanee seeks Federal Aid after 199 homes and 53 businesses either damaged or destroyed

From Wednesday, October 24, 2007 headlines:

Amish-Mennonite Community pulls together to help storm victims rebuild.

Volunteers turned away in Nappanee.

Nappanee residents get help finding employment.

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Last night at 10:30 p.m. our Weather/All Hazard’s Alert radio told us to take shelter. It got dark. It got windy. Abby ran through the dog door and out into the back yard to bark at the storm. Buster hid under a chair. Our cats, Simba and Biggs paced nervously, staying close to DH and I.  Kitty was out in the woods somewhere.

We turned our television to our local satellite weather channel. The announcer said a tornado had touched down and was 16 minutes away.  Our Police Scanner reported  a couple calling in on a cell phone phone saying they were trapped under the rubble of their house.

DH watched out the back door and saw nothing in the dark.

It was a long night.

This morning  we found fiberglass insulation from homes in Nappanee in our front yard. According to the news some of Nappanee’s debris was found in Constantine, Michigan…40 away.

Here are some pictures of Nappanee. I may have more this weekend.

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A barn down the road lost its roof.

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Electric poles down…DH and I did not lose our electricity.

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200 Homes and buildings were damaged. It is estimated that 100-150 are damaged beyond repair.

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The south side of Nappanee. Winds reached 165 m.p.h.

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More damage from the powerful F-3 tornado.

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The Dairy Queen.

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A closer view of rubble and metal wrapped around an electrical wire.

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A farm east of Nappanee.

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Here is where I get vegetables in the summer. The Weaver’s lost some of their roof, several trees, and all of their vegetable stand. Notice the right porch post.

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 A picture of Weaver’s vegetable stand sign I took in June.

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Where the sign and vegetable stand used to be.

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Splitting wood.

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More wood splitting.

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Neighbors and relatives work together.

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Stocking up for winter.

Media Links:
Powerful Tornado in Nappanee, Residents clean up/Includes Video Coverage,
Fort Wayne WPTA-TV

MORE TORNADO DAMAGE PICTURES, PLUS NEWS UPDATES

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