Book Four - Part 8 - Rhyming Evil - Chapter Nine
Tuesday – July 3rd
The Squad Room – 8:27 a.m.
“Thanks to Clauson, Klugston, Lowery and Banyard, the case of the smelly instruments was solved rather quickly. I also believe it was meant to be that way.
“No new riddles to report, means no additional worries other than doing our job. With that said, you all have your assignments, so if no one has any questions, get out there and stay safe, and keep our streets safe.”
As everyone was filing out, Satchell motioned her to her office, where he stepped in behind her.
“Baker, have you heard the weather report lately?”
“As of an hour ago, we will be under a severe tornado watch beginning at five this afternoon, until eleven tonight.”
Baker looked up.
“Right now, it’s about a hundred and seventy-five miles out, but headed in our direction. I’d say if it gets another thirty miles closer; that would be the best time to put all that practice we did into the real thing.
“It’s already done a number on a few other smaller towns between here and northwestern Ohio, and southwestern PA. It has lost some of its strength, but it’s still moving at a good clip. It’s no earthquake, but this baby could cut us in two if we aren’t careful.
“It’s up to Mayor Marsh. She is thinking of making a televised announcement locally and on the radio. If she does, we have to evacuate everyone from downtown, and as many residents as possible that do not have adequate shelter they can turn to. We get them over to the Evac Center and sit it out for a few hours. The only thing the building is still lacking, are front doors, air-conditioning, and running water for the six bathrooms put in. Generators to power things up are due on Friday. The rest is supposed to be finished sometime next week.”
“Find out what you can, Satchell. Meantime, I’ll contact all units and have them on standby. Looks like the fourth might come in with a bigger bang than expected.”
By 9:30, every available unit (on and off duty) were notified, and in a full state of preparedness. This time, they knew it wasn’t a drill.
At 10:30, Mayor Marsh made a public announcement.
“The tornado, with a listed speed of eighty-five miles per hour, is expected to hit the vicinity within the next eight hours. The good news is that the system has stalled, and that there is a probability it may die out before it gets here or take another route away from us. In the meantime, I implore all of you without your own adequate shelter, to come to the Montie Evacuation Center. The air-raid signal will continue to sound off three sharp blasts until the tornado has either gone through our area or bypasses us altogether.
“I also ask that you check on your neighbors, other family members, friends, and anyone you feel may not be able to properly take care of themselves in the event the tornado hits. Get them either to your own shelter, or to the Evac Center in Montie.
“If you are coming to the Evac Center, do so in an orderly fashion. No speeding or running. No one needs to panic. No phone calls, please, as all appropriate personal; the police, fire and emergency services will be along several routes to assist you if necessary.”
She was handed a sheet of paper.
“I have just received word that the Stanhouse PD, and their available police units and emergency services, will also be assisting us. So please, I implore you to get to a shelter of your own, or make your way to the Evac Center, in a safe and orderly manner. Thank you.”
Preparations were underway. Businesses closed. This included banks, restaurants, gas stations, motels, and so on. You name it; it closed. Residents too far out from the Evac Center that had their own shelter were going to be fine. Those who didn’t and didn’t have a way in on their own; between the Stanhouse PD, and the Twenty-Second, and emergency responders, everyone was brought to safety. If one didn’t know any better, you would have thought they had done this millions of times.
Close to six-thirty, and the first feeling of a heavy wind coming could be felt. By 7:30, it did.
By 7:45, it struck hard, it struck fast. The entire city of Montie was either surrounded by the most expensive shelter ever made, or other residents were safe in their own underground bunker.
By 8:25, whatever was left of the tornado had begun to fade. It’s windspeed fell from seventy-eight, to almost forty miles an hour, and was headed northeast. But it did do some damage. All the residents; police and ambulance personal walked out into the open air; some would tell you they could see the direction it was headed as it began to fade from sight.
As promised, the air-raid blasts finally stopped.
People milled about in the Evacuation Center and started to leave to go to their homes or place of work. Some could see downed power lines, several windows broken, trees were uprooted, and several cars were beat up with moderate to minor damage, except for three that were totaled because trees fell on them. The worse damage was at the city park. Five trees had been uprooted, one of which was in the middle of the street.
Office buildings and businesses had minor damage, mainly the windows were broken out, and a single streetlight had shattered on the street. Those who returned to their homes, found some damage to roofs, but no one had a roof torn away. Montie had dodged a bullet. What wasn’t found, was a single human life lost.
Truth be told, no animals died either. With Dianne Andrews persistence, every pet that could be located, was sheltered in the Evac Center, including those in the animal clinic.
The rest of the night was spent trying to get rest. Tomorrow would be a big day for cleanup, insurance adjustors, figuring the cost to repair and replace items. Plus, tomorrow was Independence Day. Not even a tornado would stop Montie from celebrating.