I once read a study which claimed that Milwaukee was the safest place to live (when only considering natural disasters).
Otherwise, it’s a bit fucked here and we’ve managed to altar the mortality statistics with other human-made variables (structural racism, systemic poverty, corruption, crime etc.).
But Milwaukee’s citizens don’t usually see hurricanes or mudslides or tornadoes or stifling heat due to our proximity to Lake Michigan.
Side note: Lake Michigan is my favorite body of water.
It’s big enough to house giant ships at its depths
and fierce enough to host large, crashing waves
and significant enough
to produce a “lake effect” which keeps Milwaukee’s natural climate pretty hospitable.
This is why last Tuesday’s wind storm shook the city to its core.
Our WiFi is still out four days later so I’m writing this post on my phone.
Since we get our WiFi through Spectrum, which is known to be The Absolute Worst during normal times, we may never again have internet.
Case in point, last night the Spectrum website was down.
In any case, the storm really hit our neighborhood.
My husband and I were looking out the windows of our second floor apartment and, all of a sudden, our building seemed to shake and the trees outside started to bend all the way over and shake violently in a way that seemed to defy physics.
We could see the wind as it was suddenly carrying all kinds of things in its clutches… trash, cats, branches and other objects were flying by our second floor window.
And it came upon us all at once. David was on the phone with his parents when it suddenly struck and it caused him to cry out “Oh shit!” just before his call was dropped.
So his parents worried for a bit until he was again able to call them back.
The storm didn’t last long but it left a pretty intense mark. Giant, mature trees were pulled out of the ground. Their gigantic branches snapped off and fell on parked cars.
It hit our neighborhood so badly the police even showed up for a change.
They put up orange Road Closed barriers and secured emergency tape.
Our street looked like a war zone.
Nothing new but a different kind of war zone.
The police car was later replaced with an ambulance but we never saw anyone loaded into it.
The next day we drove to work via a different route as, while our car was spared, the trees were still blocking the streets surrounding our building.
Other areas of the city and the surrounding area were also hit and featured on the local news.
The news also showed city street crews out there, clearing the streets of trees and debris.
But the city only sent a police cruiser, an ambulance, emergency tape and some orange barriers our way… and nothing else.
For three days nothing changed until last night when some neighborhood folk decided to clear our street themselves using chain saws and… someone plowed through one of the orange road barriers.
Ta-da! The street is again open!
It reminded me of winter storms and how no plows came to our neighborhood.
In any case, we are grateful to be alive. Not everyone was as lucky. Moreover, tens of thousands of people lost power which still hasn’t been restored due to the massive number of people affected. The heat has been stifling lately so I couldn’t help but worry for the older people who would not have AC or be able to run fans.
A reminder that life can be changed in an instant.
With COVID making its “comeback” and all of the natural disasters hitting the world right now, it’s important to prioritize what matters and cherish each day we have it.
Because tomorrow is never certain.