First, I'd like to say that my heart goes out to all those who have suffered from what Gwen Ifill referred to last night on the PBS Newshour as the "plague of tornadoes" which have struck the midwest and the southeastern United States this spring. My deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones. I also hope that those who have been hurt or who have lost their homes can recover quickly.
The city of Raleigh, North Carolina, where I live, was hit with a record breaking cluster of tornadoes on April 16. Here is some video of the damage on South Saunders St., maybe 10-15 minutes from here by car. Areas all around my neighborhood had severe damage but not much happened right where I live. OK, a tree outside my (home) office window came down and an awning downstairs was damaged, but all in all we were spared.
I wasn't quite so fortunate less than two weeks earlier on April 4. Shortly before 4:00 that morning a severe thunderstorm came through. Lightning struck a tree directly behind my building. The old oak came down, partially on my roof, and partly through my roof, through my attic and through the ceiling into the kitchen. This photo doesn't really show how large that hole was or how bad the damage really was. What you do see is the sky from what used to be my kitchen.
A few hours later water was coming in all across the back of my apartment. The place was uninhabitable.
I've got to give tremendous credit to my landlord. He owns a lot of rental units and found three for me to look at that morning. I picked one that I liked and with the help of three of his maintenance crew I was moved out by late afternoon and into the new place. My personal property loss was pretty minimal. Nobody was hurt. All things considered, it could have been a lot worse.
It took me maybe a month to get my life back to normal between the storm damage and other things that were happening at the time. Looking at what has happened in Joplin, Missouri and other cities and towns in recent days makes me realize how fortunate I am. It also makes me realize just how close I've been to being among those who really suffered this spring.