Ever written a book and had a scene in it literally come to life in front of your eyes?

If the book you’ve written is about tornadoes or any other natural disaster, you don’t want to!

It just so happened that on Thursday night, I was sitting in my room and proofreading my paperback copy of Outbreak when this happened:

In case you’re wondering, the concrete slab is where my shed used to stand.  It started to storm as soon as I got home from work on Thursday night, and continued to storm for several hours.  At about 11:00 at night (I almost always stay up late, even on work nights) the wind started to pick up and I could hear hail hitting my bedroom window.  I didn’t think much of it at the time and continued to proofread Outbreak until I heard something hit my bedroom window, which later turned out to be a shutter flying off my house.  I stood up in time to see an indistinct gray blur fly past my window, but at the time, I thought it was a trash can. 

The wind died down seconds later.  I left my room to go investigate, turned the porch light on, and realized that my shed was now on my deck for the most part, wedged up against the door so that neither me or my sister could get out.  The rest was in the yard and across the street.  We wound up having to call my parents (who live two doors down) to pull some of the debris away so I could get out and inspect the damage.

There was a lot of damage around my neighborhood, mostly missing siding panels and steps that were knocked over, but nothing like what I got.  My sister said she felt like the house was coming up off its foundation when this was happening, and said the wind sounded like a freight train.  My mother said she felt her bed shaking.  A volunteer firefighter who lives around here said it was probably straight line winds, but what I found in the back of my house makes me wonder if it was something else altogether:

Those are shingles from someone else’s house, by the way.  Embedded in mine.  This bottom one lodged in the wall right outside where I was standing at the time.

Oh, and it gets worse.  After this particular storm came through, another started, and another.  When I woke up Friday morning after about two hours of sleep, this is what my neighborhood looked like:

Thankfully, I wasn’t in the areas that flooded.  This is actually the street around the corner from mine.  I tried to go to work on Friday morning, got to the corner, saw this, and made a U-turn back to my house.  Trucks couldn’t even get through this.

I’ve only lived here for about two months now, but I guess it was still a good thing that I moved.  Here’s what my old apartment complex looked like Friday morning:

Had I stayed there, I would have lost everything I had in storage (which was in the basement) and maybe my car as well.

Also, while I was taking a walk today around my neighborhood, I got interviewed my the local paper and got mentioned in this article for the flying shed: http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2012/05/genesee_county-area_dealing_wi.html

Well, lesson learned.  I am never, ever opening Outbreak during any kind of bad weather again.