Iowa City was struck last night by a bad, bad storm. Tracy and I had broken our New Rule and gone out for a beer during the week to celebrate her completion of a big work milestone. So we were at George's when Severe Thunderstorm Warnings came on TV, and we went outside to check things out along with other patrons. The rain began coming down in sheets filled with hail the size of marbles.
Then a Tornado Warning was issued, and by God if we didn't see, looking southwest from George's doorway, an enormous pale grey funnel cloud plowing right through downtown and advancing northeast, with flying debris clearly visible spinning around it. (What killed me were other people standing around looking at the thing and saying it wasn't a tornado! "It's some kind of weird cloud." And that Press-Citizen story also for some reason refrains from calling a spade a spade.) The friggin' tornado seemed to be coming right for us. Jenny the bartender stuck her head out, took one look at the thing, and ordered us all into the basement.
Where she offered free drinks from cases of beer stacked around. Within ten minutes, all seemed clear, and we all climbed once again to the surface, blinking in wonder at our new, quiet Oz of a town. We biked home, where we discovered that the power was out and there was a lot of debris in our yard, including an 8-foot piece of someone else's roof. Our street was blocked off due to fallen trees and powerlines coiled all over the place, and traffic was backed up for a couple blocks. bR called to see if we were okay and said they were fine.
Later, TLB and Brando stopped by with stories of their own that they might talk about in a comment or on their own blogs. We all tramped off then to look at their street, which was a disaster zone. On the way, some guys offered us beers and a chance to see the damage to their place. Their porch was battered, a board had pierced their kitchen wall from the outside, and one guy led us out the back door to consider his truck, smashed nearly flat by a huge tree.
I plan to post some pictures later. Classes canceled today, library closed. Much of downtown still without power.