The Winds of Change

Sometimes the winds of change come as a subtle breeze. Sometimes they come as a 60-MPH shear. Saturday was the latter.IMG_4858

Betsy and I were at Worlds of Fun picking for an outing and some supper. The weather had been showing some thunder on the way, but the rain hadn’t started when we were walking into the park. I headed to Chickie’s and Pete’s while Betsy started walking toward Panda Express.

An announcement came over the speakers that due to possible severe storm activity people should be prepared to listen to announcements and take appropriate shelter. Betsy texted me to ask what was said, as she could only hear every other word.

I had my order placed and was waiting when the rain came down. Betsy stopped at the gift shop in the Orient because she wasn’t able to make it to Panda before the downpour occurred, and didn’t want to stand in the rain waiting for her food. The rain hadn’t shortened the line, just pulled it in under the awning. When the rain abated some, she darted over to join the line in the overhang. Then they were instructed to seek shelter at the restrooms, so she did so. Most stayed in line at Panda.

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When it looked good, she went back and got served at Panda, and was standing outside on the lee side when the rain started again.

I got the text from Carly that a tree had hit the house just about the time the wind sheared through Worlds of Fun. The folks at Panda invited anyone in the overhang inside their building, while the crew at Chickie’s told everyone to get away from the windows. It was hard to hear Nathan when he called about the house, as the volume, both of the people and the storm, was at its peak in Chickie’s at that time. But we knew both of them were safe, and that it was only at the one end of the house. Apparently the deck was shattered and one window was broken.

The Worlds of Fun staff took a break in the rain to encourage everyone to better shelter.  I was on the phone, at the back of the room, and couldn’t understand much of what they were saying, nor could I work my way through the crowd to respond anyway. I waited until I got off the phone, at which time Betsy had made her way over to Chickie’s and I could actually hear a staff person sending us to the Tivoli Theater.

On the way over to Tivoli we noticed a tree near the Fjord Fjarlane that had been topped and was laying inside the ride’s circumference, as well as outside on the path. With the rain temporarily stopped people were standing around outside, slowing down those of us who were trying to enter the theater.  On the way in we saw a lot of Christmas decorations being prepared for the upcoming Winterfest season at Worlds of Fun.

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It was mostly dark in the theater auditorium itself, except for some lights by staff and the people with their mobile devices and lights.  But once we got past the doors there were many seats available, and we were able to find some seat near the front and center.

Then it was sit and wait.  We heard an announcement from the WOF staff that there had been no tornado, just 60 MPH winds (to which my mind added the phrase “shear winds”), and that a decision hadn’t yet been made on whether to have the Haunt that night or close (they decided to close). There was a fair amount of hubbub with people talking. An older child shouted Marco, and others responded Polo. That went on for a while, and then some older people started the Marco Polo game again, until it was a little annoying. But that stopped, and then various people tried other echo games.

We finally decided to see if it was clear outside, with the intention of getting to our car and heading home. It did seem clear, and we were able to see the tree down again, along with the pumpkin near the ticket-stands that looked like it had rolled backwards and been thrown forwards. There was puddling between the ticket stands and the ticket sellers – several staff had just cleared debris blocking the one drainage grate in that entire flat area (I have commented elsewhere about the lack of drainage planning in the new entryway construction). So we waded through spots there, and spot up near the parking lot, but found our car there in the same condition we had left it. We had gotten there just in time, as the rain was starting to fall again.

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But there was a long line waiting to get up and out of the parking lot. To avoid it I pulled down to the front, moved a traffic cone, and then turned into the usual entry lane, once there I  found a low spot in the curbing to my left and bumped the car over it to the southernmost exit lanes, and thus drove up and out to get home.

It was starting to get dark as we arrived home, so I only had time for a short inspection before we started packing up what we could in preparation for staying elsewhere that night. So we didn’t take these pictures until the next day when the sun was up.

“enjoy” the pictures.  Narrative will continue in another post.

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