Thursday, June 13, 2013
The Derecho storms were to arrive in the Chicagoland area around 4 pm. I went in to work at 4 pm in a residential group home. The other staff had the TV on and we were tracking the impending weather. She announced she was leaving at 5 pm since she started work earlier. This will cause me to be alone with the clients for an hour.
On TV, the alarms were sounding for important weather updates and that the storm was moving rather quickly in our direction. Tornado warnings and watches were springing up all over the counties. I asked the other staff to stay on for assistance if I needed to move the clients to the basement. The building has stairs and I would have major problems getting a person in his wheelchair downstairs along with two in walkers and one with dementia. The others can manage unassisted. Well, the staff promptly left at 5 pm with dinner on the table.
I told them to eat quickly...but safely, which they did.
At 5:10 pm, the sirens went off. The TV was stating that several tornados have been spotted in the area... I decided to put the clients in two bathrooms that are in the middle of the very long building and adjacent to each other. I got chairs for them to sit down on and also grabbed throw pillows from the couches to put over their heads if need be. 3 women in one bathroom and 2 men in the other (wheelchair took up a lot of room) bathroom as well as 2 other men in the hallway next to the tiny bathroom.
For 30 minutes, they huddled calmly in their position while I ran between them and living room windows to look at the skies and hear reports on the TV. I gave them updates... We had several thundering booms, hail, some strong winds, and dark skies. Finally, the storms looked like they had passed and the newscasters were reporting the storms were now heading East of us, so I released my clients from their makeshift prisons but told them more may be coming and to stay in the same area. They all complied. Yay!
The night staff made it in safely And I was able to go home!
There was a lull in the storms and my husband was able to make hamburgers outside on the grill. My daughter made it to our home safely from Chicago. She said the worst of it was to the North of us, but I am glad she made it home!
Another, weaker storm swept in later that evening and by now, I am reading in the dark from my iPad Kindle and listening to the rains and thunder. I love it!
Today, is all blue skies and breezy! I hope everyone who is in the path of this derecho today is safe.