Saturday, April 16, 2011, is a day we won’t soon forget around here. A violent storm system spent the week marching across the U.S., leaving death and destruction in its wake, and saving the worst of its wrath for North Carolina. Lives were lost and homes and businesses were destroyed.
While it was a very frightening experience huddling in the closet with my family, all of us were all safe and we didn’t personally suffer property damage. However, all of our neighbors in Downtown Raleigh were not as fortunate, as Downtown suffered a lot of destruction.
When we opened our door after the storm and smelled freshly-cut wood, we knew things could not be good around us. Everything—houses, cars, signs—was plastered with tattered bits of leaves. (The last time I remember seeing this was when Hurricane Fran roared through Raleigh in 1996.)
There were trees on top of houses, power poles laying across roads, crumbled chimneys, the tops of trees sheared off, asphalt and sidewalks raised up where trees were uprooted. Main arteries in and out of Downtown were completely blocked by trees and downed power lines. The damage to Shaw University’s campus in Downtown Raleigh was so extensive that the rest of the spring semester had to be cancelled.