The thought of a tree limb that big being blown that far at a speed fast enough to overturn a truck scared me. I've never been on the receiving end of Mother Nature's wrath, and the scene before me made me thankful for it.
If we didn't know we were in the Aldi's parking lot from memory, there wouldn't have been anything to tell us we were. The store's signage and facade were gone. Ripped away with such force, its pieces littered other stores' parking lots. Later, as we made our way up Main Street, we found a piece several blocks away. We also saw kids carrying away pieces of signs they found on the ground.
We stopped to talk to employees gathered outside Arby's, where a brick wall hung precariously from the building. Clearly, it was going to fall anytime and would easily take much of the rest of the restaurant down with it.
It was surreal to walk through the restaurant's dining area to see it covered in glass and tree limbs. Knowing there were customers sitting in the glass-covered booths when the storm hit, it was scary to think how much different all this could have turned out.
If this was the destruction left in an EF1 tornado's path, I can't imagine what it's like for places like Moore, Okla., that have experienced the likes of an EF5.
Seeing the damage first-hand made real for me the destruction and fallout of the storms we so often see play out on the news.
Reality is scary.
Misty Knisely, managing editor, can be reached at 574-732-5155 or via email at email@example.com.