TOLEDO -- High winds and rain pelted our area Wednesday, ripping massive trees from the earth and sending torrents of water into intersections, cars, and basements.
Telephones rang virtually non-stop in News 11's newsroom with callers reporting swirling clouds, hail, and the location of flooded streets they hoped no one would try to travel. It was a shared experience for all of us, but also one filled with individual stories.
One woman called to ask if we had any news of what was happening at the Fifth Third Field. Her son was a volunteer for the Mud Hens and was supposed to be there, for training. She didn't know how to reach him and was worried about his safety.
Another mom called about her son who was on the University of Toledo campus. She had told him as he left the house that he should turn off his cell phone to conserve the battery power -- but she didn't know then about the storm that would soon hit, nor about the concern she would feel when she dialed his number and there was no answer. Why, she wondered, did he choose that night -- of all nights -- to follow her instructions? She laughed about it, but it was a nervous laugh.
Many callers described intersections with water so high, it would reach the doors of SUVs that plowed through it -- and stop smaller vehicles in their tracks. A woman told us about one stretch of road near The Toledo Zoo where one side could accommodate traffic -- but barely -- while the other side was so far under water, police were directing drivers away from it. "They sent them to shallow part of the high water," she said, then chuckled at how contradictory that sounded.
Some people called to ask if their insurance policies would cover the damage to their belongings as deep water crept up their basement walls and into family photographs, electronic equipment, and washing machines and dryers. That, of course, we couldn't answer, but in the day that followed we heard from frustrated homeowners who had called their insurance agents only to be told they hadn't paid for flood insurance. Then they asked another question we couldn't answer: "What am I going to do?"
Imagine seeing the foundation wash away from under your house. That happened to more than one area family -- and we were there when one man surveyed the damage to the home he loved, and bravely said he would rebuild.
But for some, the storm had a bright side. We found one little boy happily sailing through the dark, murky water on an inflatable blue raft. It wasn't the wisest thing for him to do. Flood waters can contain raw sewage and make people sick -- but just try to tell that to a grinning kid as his hands paddle the water.
Golfers will probably grow impatient, waiting for their favorite greens to dry out, and homeowners will wonder if life will ever get back to normal. But there's one thing we can all look forward to: telling and retelling our personal tales about the wrath of the storm from the safe distance that time provides.
Click on the video link to see how your neighbors are coping, and be sure to visit the WTOL Photo Gallery to view the storm images many have shared with us. You, too, are invited to add your photos to the collection.
On the Web:
WTOL Photo Gallery: http://wtol.com/Global/link.asp?L=93100