As noted yesterday, a tornado hit my hometown of Billings, Montana Sunday evening. A truly rare occurrence, it was the first tornado to touch down inside the city since 1958.
Classified as an F-2, the tornado had winds around 135 miles per hour.
Touching down at MetraPark - our local sports/entertainment complex - the storm ripped through Montana's largest event center. The venue holds 12,000 people and was luckily empty at the time of the storm.
After hitting the Metra, the storm crossed a creek and damaged several businesses. At McDonald's twenty employees and customers sought refuge in the walk-in cooler after watching the cloud come toward them. It narrowly avoided the fast food restaurant, ironically moving down the drive thru, before flattening several buildings across the street.
After the storm, the sun was out within twenty minutes as if it had never happened. The sun couldn't compete with the damage. Once were buildings stood only rubble remained.
But the MetraPark Rimrock Auto Arena was hit the hardest. Just the night before nearly 4,000 people attended an arena football game under a roof that no longer exists. I saw Disney on ice there when I was four and Christina Aguilera when I was twelve. I saw my first circus there and amazed people by knowing the difference between a dromedary and a camel as a toddler.
This is where I graduated high school. Our class song was "I Hope You Dance." I grew up in this arena. I saw state championships won and world class bull rides. I watched my grandpa buy cattle and won blue ribbons for my art. It's weird how fast things can change. And then the sun comes out.