Monday, May 11, 2009

Wet, Wild and Wonderful

The Wet and Wild part..........

Friday morning we woke up to thunder and lightening, heavy wind and rain and power going on and off. Tom had a meeting with KPERS in Topeka scheduled for 1:00 to begin the process of his retirement, so we left the house by 9:00 to give us enough time to have lunch when we got there (about a 3 1/2 hr drive from here). We had a few smallish limbs down in our yard, but had no idea how big a storm system had passed through.

Three blocks from our house we saw this and began to wonder..............

About 15 miles west we passed by this scene. The tractor-trailer was on it's side and the awning of the gas station was ripped off. We were seeing more and more trees uprooted; tin roofs from barns and sheds were scattered through fields. I still don't know how much rain we received but there was substantial flooding since the ground was already so saturated from the rains the week before.

As we drove north towards Topeka the damage continued. At one point we encountered a string of about 10 utility poles snapped in half (they were only beginning to be replaced about 9:00 p.m. on our return home).

It turns out these were mainly straight line winds..but I've heard reports that range from 80-90 mph to even gusts up to 120 mph west of here. The north end of Pittsburg was without power a good portion of the day. You can read more about the storm here. A school near here lost the roof on their gymnasium and a church collapsed.

While these kind of storms are typical of Kansas, especially in the spring, I have to admit I've really had my fill of them. We feel fortunate that once again we escaped major damage.

Despite all this bad weather in the early morning, the rest of the day was just beautiful! Sunny and warm and it's always a pretty drive across the flinthills of eastern Kansas.

Tom's appointment at KPERS was pretty anticlimactic..not sure why we even went as we learned nothing we didn't already know. But we were able to hang around and meet a friend I used to work with and her parents, sister and nephew for supper at the Longhorn Steak House.

That was Wonderful...but so was this.....

Since we had plenty of time between the KPERS appointment and meeting my friend, we decided to check out the Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site which opened in Topeka in 2004. The 1954 ruling ended legal segregation in public schools.

Let's just say the sun was in my eyes, huh? And I never thought my ears stuck out before..guess I've snagged my oxygen tubing one too many times and tugged them forward!

Monroe of one of the five cases that made up Brown vs. Board

Used as a school until 1975, then storage until the site opened to the public in 2004

A reminder of our shameful past.

Very educational, very humbling.

In the theater room where five video presentations can be viewed on 8 large screens.

The argument that lead to the historic Supreme Court decision.
They have done a wonderful job and it's a must see if you are in the Topeka area. Though I didn't live in Kansas at the time , it makes me proud to be a Kansan now! Check out the website to learn more about the five cases that proved separate can never be equal.

Driving home we saw many areas still without power. The moon was full and bright orange. A beautiful site across the rolling flinthills.


Stitch-n-quilt said...

Your storm brought back memories of the days I lived in Wichita and Hesston. (in my late teens and 20's).When tornadoes were spotted all the natives moved to the porch to watch it. We asked our neighbors if we could use their basement and they then came down with us. I was fortunate and never had to experience one or a storm like you just had. Maybe it was a sideways tornado.
I think your trip to Topeka was quite fascinating also. Historical sites always interest me.

Sherry said...

I love how you told us about this great Historical site it was bery interesting to know that there is one I will be checking the web about it.
I'm glad that you and your house are safe.

call me crazy said...

Your storm brought back memories of living in the midwest for me too. Yikes! Loved your tour thru the Historical Site... very interesting... and you look cute!!! :-)

Sunna Reyr said...

That must have bin a scary storm, glad you missed it. The worst weathers we get are usually around high tide, if the barometer is also low it can get really bad. Winter storms are the worst though in my opinion.

Thanks for the history lesson.

Crispy said...

Oh my Mary, that is just awful!! I'm so glad you were missed. They call those horizontal winds micro bursts in ND. They are pretty dang scary and can come out of nowhere.


Donna said...

The storm sounds awful, Mary. I hope they stay away from you! I enjoyed the pics of the historical site. That would be a great place to visit.