Thursday, June 11, 2009


It's been exactly 365 days since the most recent Manhattan tornado.

Last year we Armstrongs (including the Australian contigent, my inlaws!) went "downtown" to watch the boy run in the Poyntz Mile Race.. The Poyntz Mile Race was in the early evening, and the skies showed some excellent thunderheads, but we Kansans see them all the time; what was the big-durn-deal?

Well! After celebrating 3rd place, we all went back to rural Kansas (Wabaunsee) and settled into our evening, although short indeed it was: we took a glance at the weather, and it showed a tornado right over Manhattan!

I called daughter Claire immediately: Hilary!!! (more on this later): Do you know there is a tornado in your neighborhood?!!

Her reply:"No, Mom, I just woke up. Can I just put a mattress over my head in the bathtub?

I think I went nuts about then; Claire claims she was safe the whole time... OK !!!

Whatever! She was safe, thank God (no kidding, we believe in prayer), but the other parts of Manhattan were in shambles. It looked like, from the radar, that the tornado hit the hills just before Claire's apartment, and then hopped and skipped, and hit the homes east/southeast of her apartment. Her apartment was unscathed.

The next day and on into weeks, volunteers helped with the damage and removal of . One thing I learned through this: homeowners asked for volunteers to help pick up glass shards from their yards: their kids could not play in their yards because of the tiny glass pieces left from the tornadic winds.

Some homeowners would walk outside, and find, maybe a photograph. And they would show it around, until someone would recognize it as a photo of someone down on "???th?" Street. Things we do not think of.

There was the story of a family who had a sofa appear in what had been their living room. It was their living room, yes, but certainly not their sofa.

And so it went, perhaps still goes to an extent.

Did this teach me anything?? YES!

  1. Wear incredible shoes if a tornado is imminent.
  2. Have your cell phone.
  3. Have your laptop, or hard drive or flash drive.
  4. Have your insurance up-to-date. One of my friends is in the insurance business, and omigoodneess, how busy she was! First, busy with the tornado victims. Then, busy with all the people who came in AFTER the tornado to review their homeowner's policies. (And have your insurance guy's number on your cell phone.)
No doubt at all that there are so many more facts to get a grip on; these are just the few I learned from last year's Manhattan tornado.

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