The morning was pretty bleak, and it was obvious rain was coming (we've had thunderstorms all week), but it was no worse than I had seen in the past couple days. Around 11:30 or noon, though, everything changed.
I was chatting with my aunt, who had stopped by to say hello, and as I glanced over her shoulder, I saw that outside, which ten minutes before had been overcast and rainy but not inordinately so, was now pitch black. The streetlights were all on, and I swear it was as if night had fallen in the space of five minutes. I'm sorry to say I didn't get a picture of that, but another five minutes later I wouldn't have been able to anyway because sideways rain began hitting our windows, obscuring everything outside. Said windows began to rattle, our lights began to flicker, and then we heard the unmistakable sound of hail. It was around that time that I decided to text several of my friends that the apocalypse had come, and my friend Joe confirmed in his response that he had seen three of the four horsemen. One of my co-workers felt compelled to leave her desk during this period, as she sits in front of a large bank of windows. I didn't blame her. And then, after another ten minutes, it was basically over, where we were anyway.
The rain, thunder, and lightning continued all night and there were reports of tornados all over the county. Driving home after work, I saw limbs down and debris everywhere. To make matters worse, this week is the annual Sun n' Fun Fly-In, an airshow and exhibition that brings plane enthusiastists from all over to the area. As you can imagine, winds powerful enough to create tornados and bring down oak trees did not bode well for a bunch of planes sitting out on the tarmac of the Lakeland Airport. Here's one of many pictures of the destruction:
Yes, that plane is upside-down. The worst report I heard was that a hanger at the Fly-In had collapsed, trapping 70 people. Luckily, that turned out to be inaccurate. It's amazing how rumors can be augmented. It was actually a tent that collapsed, injuring 7. Still not good, but less disastrous than what the initial news reports told us. Silly news reports.
Anyway, from what I hear, 2,000 people were/are without electricity. The storm really wreaked havoc on power lines. Yet, for some reason, my friend Jonny didn't lose power. That wouldn't be weird except that he lives on the other side of my neighborhood. What the hey, Lakeland Electric? I hope it comes back on today. Reading by candlelight is not as romantic as it sounds when you start getting headaches from eye strain.
Oh, and no, this is not my idea of an elaborate April Fool's prank. Hehe, wouldn't that be great, though? How did I convince someone to flip a plane upside-down just for that picture? Oh, Kimber, you're such a scamp.