We decided to spent full day in Ponca State Park, Nebraska and were actually discussing about the food items to bring for our picnic on the night of 9th July. In an instant, it went complete dark and only lights available were the continuous lightnings flashing over our faces from outside. It was the beginning of a storm with wind speed as much as 90 mph. Can you imagine ?
We were clueless, first thing that came to our mind were our beloved plants and bicycle which we moved outside very recently. We decided to bring everything inside to avoid any damage. Bike was uncovered by the storm and its cover was ready to go along with the wind before we got hold of it. We had to strongly push our bike inside. Being outside was like being in the storm of Life of Pi movie except the fact that there was no chance of drowning. We were literally being pushed here and there by the wind and threaten by continuous flashes. I asked Harmit to be inside and passed all the plants to her two at a time. We did it as quick as possible and shut the door. What a relief !
Tree adjacent to our balcony was ready to take asylum in our living room. All of them were struggling hard in the brutal storm. After arranging the plants, we searched for candles which we never use except some special days. Harmit’s phone battery was already low, so I asked her not to use it. She used my iPhone torch to look for candles, it took nearly 20-25 mins to find them, we found 3 candles. We also searched for power-bank which was luckily 75% charged.
I dropped quick messages to our families about the electricity and storm and then turned off the internet to save the battery. Picnic was cancelled, to pass our time we played 2-3 games of cards. We already had dinner, else this could have been easily turned into candle light dinner night. After few games, we felt drowsy and It was bit hot too inside, so we prepared bed on the floor near balcony-window in living room, opened the balcony door just a bit for air and slept.
Next day, on Saturday we woke up at 9 AM, still without power. There is almost nothing you can do without electricity. We decided to go outside for breakfast, but were not sure if restaurants are operative after so much chaos. We checked with our friends about outside situation and after their confirmation got ready for breakfast.
From our balcony, weather at least looked okay, but as soon as we stepped out of our apartment, we were welcomed by complete darkness, so much so that we were not able to see each other. There is long corridor with apartments on both sides just like any typical hotel. Only thing visible was the EXIT sign in red.
iPhone torch came to aid again and we used stairs to come down to community garage. It was pitch black there, actually frightening. I started the car and after reaching exit door, found it inoperative. Now that was bad ! But we realized some cars were coming from other entrance of the garage, so we reversed the car and moved toward that entrance. Door was open, finally we were outside, away from the darkness 🙂
There was decent traffic on the road and was actually slow since traffic signals were not working. Everyone waited patiently at the signal and followed the basic rules by yielding to the driver who arrived first.
We reached to a restaurant – Vitality Bowls, parking was hard to find as most of the people were outside due to power outage. I found the parking space 5 min away from the restaurant after circling the area for few minutes. There was a decent line at the restaurant, we waited for 10-15 mins and ordered the food. They asked us to pay in cash as card machines were not working. To our luck, I had cash in my wallet which I generally don’t keep. We paid and waited for the food. It took longer than usual, but meals were worth the wait.
Weather was pleasant, so I insisted to go for a small hike nearby. But Harmit was adamant and wanted to go home. To be honest, I was little furious on this, but with little options, just played along. We came back home and with nothing much to do, slept again 😊. I wanted to read my book, but lazy weather impacted me. We woke up with the sound of heavy rain striking the glasses of balcony-window. So it started again, she was right, hike was not a wise decision. She was giving me those looks. I just avoided the eye-contact, it’s that simple.
We got the power finally at around 3:30 PM and still there are many regions without power. Restoration work is going on in many areas. Many trees were uprooted and nearly 188,000 customers were impacted due to power outages as per Omaha Public Power District. Thanks to the prompt action, our plants are well. We kept them whole Saturday inside and moved them again outside on Sunday once everything looked normal.
Too much chaos was done by the storm, I visited nearby park on Sunday and got the chance to capture some of the damage. In the next post, I will share those pictures with you.
Happy Reading ! Keep Traveling !!!