If you’ve been watching the news, you may be aware that the Twin Cities metro area of Minnesota has been walloped with storms over the last week. Xcel Energy reported a record-breaking 505,000 power outages over the weekend, and an astonishing amount of people are still without power. I’ve seen hundreds of trees in the roads and on top of houses and otherwise in places they shouldn’t be.
Luckily, I don’t know anyone who was hurt. I know plenty of folks who had property damage, but no injuries. It seems that we’re used to crazy weather in Minnesota.
The biggest and most destructive of the storms hit on Friday night, when I was in a movie theater watching Pain & Gain. For a good 15 minutes, it sounded like someone had turned on a vacuum cleaner inside the theater; that was the sound of the wind creating its own soundtrack with the emergency exit door. By the time the movie was over and we walked out of the theater, the storm had passed… but the exterior world looked like every nearby plant had been torn asunder and strewn onto the parking lot.
My power was out when I got home, but otherwise there was no damage. Electricity returned sometime the following morning, so I was by far one of the lucky ones.
A far more interesting thing happened the next day.
The earth opened up and ate my street.
This, my friends, is a 60-foot-wide, 20-foot-deep sinkhole. This gaping maw is two blocks from my home.
A 36-inch water main broke, washing away the earth underneath the road. When civil engineers arrived to fix the main, they shut off the water, which caused the road to simply melt away. The footage on the local news actually captured some of the cave-in as it was happening. Surreal.
It’s great, though, that nobody was hurt when this happened. That’s a hole that could easily eat a car, a house, or a business. It could have been a tragedy. Instead, it is just an impressive curiosity and a payday for some road construction crews.