Tornado and Author Visit

What a week! February 5-12, 2008 was one of tornadoes, fires and more. I’ll recap the week in the next several posts.

This is NOT a Drill

On the night of February 5, I was at the Baxter County Library, Mountain Home, AR, a small town in the north-central part of Arkansas. I was scheduled for a reading to kids followed by a writing workshop for adults. When I drove up to the library, I sat outside a few minutes making calls and was impressed by the traffic in and out of the library. Obviously, the librarians do a great job of serving their community because there were few open parking spots.

Inside, the staff were gracious and excited. We moved to a large open room where OLIVER was waiting for me. It’s always a treat to see him because he travels so much.

In the Stacks during a tornado (Click for a full size picture.)
About 20 kids and parents gathered and I had just started reading when the tornado sirens went off. The library staff quickly and efficiently moved the kids away from windows to the interior of the building and had them sit in the stacks. Some kids were jittery, so–I kept reading my books. For the next 30 minutes or so, I read my books and entertained the kids and parents. When the all-clear was sounded, one mother called home to find out that all the windows in her house were blown out, a roof was off an out-building, there was no electricity–but her husband was safe. While she was making the call, I sat on the floor and helped her daughter put together a construction paper Oliver. Daughter, mother and grandmother were all safe at the library when the storm hit.

It was a devastating storm throughout Arkansas and Tennessee with many deaths, many destroyed homes, etc. A sad day in the state. Clean up efforts continue, as people deal with the aftermath.

I drove home the next day and most of the route was uneventful. But one small section of the highway was closed off in Mountain View, AR, where a tornado had also struck. We were routed along a dirt road, which also passed through a one-fourth to one-half mile section of the tornado’s path. Here are some of the pictures I took through the car’s window. It was a short section, but you can see roofs ripped off, trees snapped. One lady is walking around in the rubble that’s left of her home. Notice the pink insulation in the trees.
Roof blown off by tornado
tornado devastation
A sad week for many. Clean up is ongoing and the effects will be felt for a long time in many cities.

Next: Fire in the Hole

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