The first hint that trouble was brewing should have come after dinner Sunday evening. I looked outside and saw clouds gathering in an ethereal, amber light. I checked the weather and it said we would be under a thunderstorm watch until 8 o'clock. When we finally hit the sack around 11 o'clock lightning was still lighting up the sky. Rain had poured from the sky with so much fury, my neighbor later told me he couldn't see the house behind him that's 100 feet away or so. Thunderclaps were right on top of us, in some cases shaking the house. For Ezra's sake, we kept the doors closed. But not long after falling asleep I was awakened by the sound of what seemed like a freight train outside. Except there's no railroad tracks in our back yard. Or anywhere close for that matter. I was standing next to our bed and glanced at the clock: 12:22 a.m.
That's when a window next to our bed where Julie was sleeping exploded. Julie came flying out of the bed screaming and jumped into my arms. (It's nice to know she knows where to find her hero.) I stood there stunned momentarily trying to get my bearings. Then Julie scurried around to gather up the kids while I tried to assess the damage and figure out what to do next while rain and wind howled in the window. Some blinds were doing a good job keeping the rain out and a short time later the rain stopped and the wind died down. This morning I learned that wind gusts topped 50 mph and parts of Gloucester had 5 inches of rain from the storm.
We cleaned up the shards of glass that had littered the bed and floor and walked around outside talking to our neighbors. Our neighbor's poplar tree had crashed through the fence between our yards and glanced off the side of our house. Two other trees or parts of two different neighbors' trees ended up in our yard. Branches from the poplar tree are the ones that ended up smashing our window; I found poplar leaves and chunks of the branches on our floor and bed. A neighbor down the street who I'd never met brought down a tarp and fastened it around our window to get us through the night. Other than some damage to gutters and a couple of shingles, everything on the house seems to be fine. Though I am in the market for a new window.
The Lord protected us and no one was hurt. About 1:30 a.m., while reliving the sounds and fury of the storm with neighbors, I looked up at the sky and saw stars and felt relieved. After tidying up inside and vacuuming and changing the sheets and bedspread I headed outside to take another look around the house. It was about 2:30 a.m. when I looked up in the sky. The stars were obscured by clouds and off to the north lightning lit up the sky like strobe lights.