Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Long Trip Is Over 3

As we left Faith, SD we noticed the winds were starting to pickup.  Having some experience with windy conditions during my days in Eastern Washington I thought it was no big deal and we continued on down the road.  Well slap me silly.  As we approached the Missouri river crossing about mid way across the state the winds were continuing to build.  Long flat stretches of plains make for some really strong winds.  Combined with what looked like lightening strikes and ever darkening skies we were starting to get concerned.  We switched on the radio and started to hear reports of gale force winds, tornado warnings, hail, mass rain, flood warnings and thunderstorms with lightning.  At this point I am beginning to wonder about the families choice of date for the wedding.  We appear to be driving into the eye of the storm.

When we got to the Missouri river crossing we stopped at a small road side park just to get out and walk around, use the facilities and stretch.  I could barely open the cab door on the truck as I fought to get out.  Getting in was even more fun as Mia was laughing as I tried to keep my feet and hands from being slammed in the door and keep my hat on my head at the same time.  The door slammed against my shin and gave a nasty bruise with a minor cut.  Ouch!!  At this point we had some nasty winds and some rain but the sky as you can see isn't that bad.
That changed as we left the little park and headed east towards Watertown.  Reports were now coming in of trees, power lines down, no power throughout Watertown, shingles flying through the air and gale force winds.  We became even more concerned as we drove on and noticed how much our large truck was wandering at Mother Natures whim.  At this point I stopped worrying about taking pictures and started concerning myself with getting us to Watertown and to our motel as quickly and safely as possible.  Highway 212 enters Watertown on the west edge of town and goes right through the center of the town.  Our motel was known to us having stayed there before.  It is on the east side of town across from the Terry Redlin Art Center.  As we approached town we were still hearing warnings of thunder and lightning, tornado warnings and high winds.  No wonder all the farmers for the past 100 miles or so had left their equipment where they stopped it in the field and high tailed it for cover.

Once in town we got the opportunity to see some of the damage as we drove slowly down the darkened streets.  There was absolutely no power to be found in the town.  In fact, Watertown depends on pumps to move their sewer water to the sewage plant and all of the lift stations were without power causing them to advise against using any toilets, showers or sinks.  We moved on to the motel and found it without power.  Tomorrow, fun times at the motel.

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