#SOL20: A Single Hour

Let me be perfectly clear.  I’m lucky I live in SE Iowa.  Out of range.

Yes, it was black out. Yes, I watched as the wooden chair tipped over and was pushed across the deck. Then another chair twisted in the wind as it toppled over.  The glass-topped patio table danced three feet across the deck. I watched the plants in pots in plant stands topple over. Living green leaves attached to skinny branches were driven into the ground like darts and soon dotted every square foot of the yard. Dead branches looked like Tinker toys as they fell from the trees.

Wind, yes.

Scary, yes.

Life-threatening, no.

Loss of electricity, no.

Damage to homes, no.

I’m lucky.

Our area was lucky.

Others not so much.

A derecho hit Iowa last week.

A tornado with category two hurricane force winds.

Little notice.

Folks now living in tents. No electricity. No food. No water. No showers. No internet. No phones. No air conditioning. No fans. No light. No electricity.  No viable homes.

Day 6 . . . 90,000 without power.


60 minutes


Day 7 . . . 63,000 without power.

Day 8 . . . over 30,000 without power.

  • Linemen working night and day.
  • Debris that must be removed.
  • Crews from as far as Canada are on the ground providing assistance.

And yet many are existing in tents. 20,000 fed, Covid-safely, yesterday.

3,600 seconds later . . .

Screenshot 2020-08-18 at 6.06.02 AM

Early estimate: 10,000,000 acres of crops look like this. Ten million acres.

2020 . . . the year that just keeps giving . . .

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

10 responses

  1. Some things are slow, some are fast.
    The structure of your piece is effective- your opening paragraph is a well written description of your own place during the moment, then you expand out in space and time and space your sentences accordingly down the page.
    I hope for speedy recovery from that storm and more.

    1. Thank you for naming the structure moves you saw in my slice. So many ways it could have gone!!!

  2. Yikes! How scary! Your structure worked really well here–beginning with that intense description and then moving into those short lines and then a timeline. I’m glad you’re safe and hope the situation improves for those who are struggling with the direct fallout from the storm.

    1. So bizarre to think 60 minutes could have such a huge impact!

  3. I love the ways you went through time and details here. I had never heard of a derecho before. I love learning new words. I am glad you are safe and hope all find ways to repair their lives soon.

    1. The hits just keep coming. Hopefully power will soon be restored for all.

  4. When I saw this on the news I immediately thought of you. Glad you are safe. This was a new weather term for me. I can’t imagine what it was like living through something like this. Hoping that power is soon restored to all.

    1. Slowly but surely. We need the photo ops to stop interfering with the real work!

  5. I’m glad you are OK. Such a frightening thing. It all just seems so unfair.

    1. Unfortunately we cannot control the weather. But we do need better responses. Lives depend on safety and security.

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