Last Tuesday evening I was reviewing a linear algebra video tape when, as predicted, strong winds were mounting up outside. A tornado warning was put out by the weather service earlier. All my life I have heard these warnings over and over and none ever came to pass. What sounded like hail pounding on my roof was actually small pieces of branches hitting the roof hard off the big oak that hangs over my home. Things then happened too rapidly for me to get scared. Air pressure seemed to change just as the electricity went out so I looked out my window westward and noticed something that looked like a long and thin spout above us with one curve in its shape tht went northward and down somewhat. A railroad is nearby and I thought it was just a coincidence that I heard one pass at that moment although it did sound unusually louder. Then I thought it was just wishful thinking on my part remembering when I was a kid and always wanted to witness a tornado that looked like that.
So things ended as quickly as they started and everyone in our trailer park was walking around to see if anyone was hurt. One half of the park had no electric and the other half did. But the half that did had the worst damage with a tree being punched right through the roof and into the living room. No injuries were reported.
We all dismissed what we saw as being the upper part of a funnel and decided it was just a micro burst. A few days later we find out that the same firemen that came into our park to respond to all the 9-1-1 calls also recorded a same density of phone calls that formed a path on a map that headed north and east of us where Mt Prospect is located. Then one eyewitness north of us said she saw swirling, twisting snakes forming in an open field next to a church and pretty much confirmed things. We were without electricity for 48 hours but both Mt Prospect and Des Plaines (just east of us) have parts that are still out right now. Some trees were punched right through car windows and a few roofs were ripped off. No deaths that we know of.
When we called ComEd tp report the outage they had a recording that mentioned that too many outages occurred to predict when power would come back on. About 400,000 were without electricity. Cell phones were all discharged after a while and the only way I recharged mine was with the marine battery and the inverter in my shed. The neighbors have relatives in a nearby town who brought in a generator and they proceeded to generate power to refrigerators and freezers for themselves and the neighbors on each side of them. We pretty much lucked out compared to what other communities have had in other parts of the country.