Yesterday, I was exchanging emails with a friend in Texas that had to do with the blistering weather there. I went to a weather website to track down some information, and once there I saw a headline to story about a tornado that just hit a Chicago suburb. I knew that growing up in Glencoe, north of Chicago and on Lake Michigan, we'd occasionally have tornado watches -- though rarely reaching the level of a tornado warning -- but the tornados (and most "warnings") were usually in the more outlying and western inland areas.
I immediately clicked on the article and saw that the subheading said that the area hit was southwest of Chicago. That gave me some relief, because I was mainly checking for Glencoe (where I'm from) and other norther suburbs where most of my relatives in the area live.
But then I realized that I have a cousin who lives southwest of Chicago in Naperville, so I wanted to check about that, though happily "southwest of Chicago" is a very huge area. And reading deeper in the article, it turned out that the down hit by the tornado was...Naperville!
This is where my cousin Diana lives. I've mentioned her several times for her artwork (including the memorial fiberglass horses she was commissioned to design by the City of Chicago) and the articles that periodically have been written about her.
When I phoned her, there was no answer, so I admit to a little bit of concern -- but she called back about half an hour later. Her family was fine, and fortunately they have a basement and huddled there, While it was certainly concerning as the tornado sirens were going off at 11 PM, with torrents of rain and gale-force winds, happily there was almost no damage to the house, limited mostly a little bit of the grounds.
However, when she went out for a walk the next day to assess the area, she came across where the tornado hit. Close enough, obviously, for her to walk to. (She quipped that before going out, she made sure to first put on her ruby red slippers. And no, just to be clear for anyone wondering, and not knowing her sense of humor, she didn't actually do that.) Not only was the damage terrible, it was only about a mile from their home. As awful as the damage was, though, happily no one died, and the one person who was listed as critical and be taken off that list.
Here are some of the photos she took of the area a mile from her.
And as Diana noted in her email -- there used to be a house here. What's odd is that the homes next door on either side were relatively spared, not in the absolute direct path.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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