Last Friday, the Minneapolis area was rocked by a massive thunderstorm. Trees uprooted, blocking driveways and roads and cutting off power to hundreds of thousands of people. Flooding, especially around the lakes, led to stranded vehicles and traffic jams. My brother and I were on our way to see a movie just after the storm, but we found ourselves slogging through such deep water—borderline hydroplaning—that we decided to turn back. As we attempted to return home, our path was cut off by police and stopped cars ahead, whom I later learned, were stuck behind a sky-high tree now downed on the street. Turning around, we then encountered numerous darkened stoplights and streets where many drivers were within inches of collisions.
It felt chaotic at the time, but I was also aware of how quickly the government, private sector and community responded as a whole. Police and tow trucks were on the scene at sights with downed trees and stranded cars almost immediately. The power companies called in their reserves from nearby states (although I’m sure many people were disappointed with the response time nonetheless. I know I felt that way when I went without power for a week in Washington DC last summer). Furthermore, within minutes of the storm’s conclusion, I watched neighbors hauling branches out of the street, drivers allowing others to pass or turn around, and, in the case of the Lake of the Isles area, individuals personally standing on the ends of flooded blocks to ensure that cars didn’t drive down those roads.
Our house was extremely blessed to suffer no tree damage (we are surrounded by decades old trees) or power outages, but many of my friends were not so lucky. It’s fortunate that our city did not again experience the kind of devastation wrought by the 2011 tornado that hit North Minneapolis. However, the clean up has a long way to go and the loss to families, businesses and neighborhoods permeates our city.