Tonga!

   by Slim Price

 

We were in the mid-south somewhere, and the whole day was a little strange. There was a tension in the air I had never known before, but I was naive.  It just looked to me like another rain-day coming, just a day off. There was some wind, so we had just guyed out with extra corner guys. 

 

Just a little before dusk the rain started. For the first time for me, enough rain accumulated, so it was necessary to use a couple of side poles to lift parts of the top to dump the rain off.  This was usually a no-no, to touch the top. Suddenly, there were torrents of rain like I had never seen! We rushed outside to tight guy the wind side, and all hell broke loose. At the same time the wind side was ripped from us, the huge diesel generator truck was picked up and dumped, and the whole lot shorted out. All the electrical cables were buried on this lot in shallow ditches, and as the short traveled, we could see the ground exploding progressively along the ditches, something I'd never seen before or since. 

 

Until then, I think I'd just been excited, but I finally got plain scared! All around us we could see the ground smoking, and could feel a tingle of shock in our feet. Around us, I remember the roaring noise of the storm, and seeing the ground opening in small craters where the cable to our top was buried. When the short reached our board, it blew it up and we went into the dark. 

 

The next day, as we looked around almost the whole lot was in shambles. No one had been hurt, as far as I know, but there was a lot of damage. Usually, I'm not smart enough to be scared, but that I think was the most frightening night of my life.

 

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