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Published:April 20th, 2006 23:25 EST
After the Storm

After the Storm

By Sarah Huffman

This last week has been a whirlwind, literally. Last Thursday, Iowa City, where I attend the University of Iowa, was hit with more than one tornado. Stores and homes were demolished, and students and residents alike lost everything. I had no idea what was going on because I had left to go to Des Moines for the weekend. I got a phone call around 9 p.m. from my boyfriend’s sister, telling me the roof of Menard’s had been blown off. That’s where my boyfriend works. Thankfully, he wasn’t there that night. I then got a phone call from my boss, asking if I was ok. I knew it was serious, but I didn’t know just how bad it was until the next day.

Pictures on every news station broadcasted St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, with half of the building missing, the Alpha Chi Omega house, now with its insides made visible to the whole world, and the space where the historic Dairy Queen on Riverside Drive now empty. How could all of this happen in the short time that I had been gone?

Living in Iowa for 22 years, there’s been a fair share of tornado warnings and extreme storms, but nothing like this has ever happened before. No one was prepared for what happened. No one thought at least five tornados would touch down in our highly populated city. We now know better. Many of us around the country have learned this year and last that warnings aren’t to be taken lightly. All of us in Iowa City watched the devastation that Katrina left in the south. We never thought anything like that would ever happen to us. But the weather hit us, and it hit us hard. News broadcasts resembled those of the rebuilding in the South. Except this time, I recognized everything that was being shown. It’s unreal to see the corner you’d walk by everyday covered by uprooted trees and broken glass.

But within a week, thanks to the strength of this community, we’re picking up the pieces and putting them back together. Boarded-businesses along

Riverside Drive
boasted bright blue paint: YES, WE ARE OPEN! Streetlights that were ripped off poles on the corner of Clinton and Burlington have been replaced. We’re trying to get back to the way things were. Students who lost their homes have been welcomed into others. Donations are being taken everywhere and each day, new assistance is available to those who need it. We’re lucky to live in a place where if everything we have is taken away, that people are willing to help get it all back.

The tornados left a path of destruction through our town, but it also brought the community closer. Thankfully, no one was killed or injured badly. Our lives will be forever changed though. Hopefully, something like this will never happen to this great community again. And next time, a warning will not be taken so lightly.