Severe storms rock Central Ohio

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

My thoughts and prayers are with my hometown of Columbus this evening. Over 100,000 people in Franklin county are left without electricity and tomorrow’s forecast calls for the continuation of sweltering heat, and the outages could last a few more days. I know some people in Columbus who are having their lives significantly affected by the current conditions and my heart really goes out to them.

I hope people make sure to take care of themselves, stay hydrated, and ideally stay with friends or family members to avoid these dangerously high temperatures (especially for the elderly.) I realize that it’s completely inconvenient for all parties involved, but sitting in hot houses accomplishes nothing and could be putting people’s safety at risk. Earlier this week, as I saw constant Facebook statuses about the heat. Some people self righteously downplayed the severity, comparing the weather to other parts of the country or war zones in the middle east, chiding the people who complain, antagonistically mocking that it’s not really “that hot.”

But this is no laughing matter. This heat can be lethal and people need to take it seriously. Click here for more information on heat stroke.

I also think about the utility workers and how hard this must be for them under so much pressure to get things going quickly in such horrible conditions. It’s easy to get extremely impatient, but that fixes nothing.

Fortunately, from news reports, it sounds like there have not been very many serious injuries. Although Columbus isn’t out of the woods yet in terms of what may be found and the ramifications of thousands of people enduring extreme heat for several days.

There is an amazing story about multiple motorists being trapped in their cars by collapsed power lines. It took 5 hours for them to be rescued. A man’s foot was severed by one of the poles(his injuries are not life threatening and no other serious injuries seemed to result from that incident.)

From reports I’ve heard, these sounds like some of the most severe storms to have hit Columbus in my lifetime. Temperatures dropped by almost 30 degrees in an hour. Roofs were pealed off like the lids of cans of tuna as hurricane force winds tipped over tractor trailers and rained down tree branches and power lines. I still remember the terrible wind storm that hit Columbus in September of 2008 as a result of Hurricane Ike. It was terrible. At one point, over 2.5 million Ohioans were without power. Like this storm, it took several days to get power back to all of the residents. But the wind storm didn’t come in the middle of record temperatures. I’m not sure if this will exceed Ike in terms of cost. Given the heat, however, I feel that it could exceed Ike in terms of human misery.

I pray for the city, the citizens, the utility workers, and for these issues to be quickly resolved.