LOOKING BACK ON 2020

Family without power for 17 days after derecho still determined: 'We're Cedar Rapids strong'

But 'I don't want to go through it again, that's for sure'

Twila Arntz of Cedar Rapids stands Aug. 10 in front of her home by her neighbor's patio table to talk about her experien
Twila Arntz of Cedar Rapids stands Aug. 10 in front of her home by her neighbor’s patio table to talk about her experience enduring the Aug. 10 derecho as it came through Edgewood Forest Mobile Home Park in Cedar Rapids. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Twila Arntz, 54, says she can deal with some thunder and lightning when a storm strikes. But once the wind starts blowing, she feels more nervous than she was before the Aug. 10 derecho. Each gust stirs her memory of the devastating storm.

A resident of Edgewood Forest Mobile Home Park, Arntz recalls the fallen trees and damaged homes and businesses around the city.

“When I was sitting in the trailer, it was rocking from side to side and back and forth,” Arntz said. “I wasn’t so sure if it was going to stay tied down or not. I opened the door and I see all these trees down and everything. It reminded me of a war zone.”

She said she was without power for more than 17 days, relying on friends and family for showers and turning to resource centers and donation events for food.

But she and her family survived it all, Arntz said: “We’re Cedar Rapids strong.”

Arntz, a homemaker who has lived in Cedar Rapids for 30 years, said the unexpected storm taught her to be better prepared. She hasn’t considered exactly how yet, but she said she doesn’t want a repeat.

“Nobody had really that much time to take cover for it or anything,” Arntz said. “We really didn’t have that much of a warning, and I didn’t hear no sirens go off at all. Watching the trees fall over, it’s like, ‘Wow.’ Mind-blowing. I don’t want to go through it again, that’s for sure.”

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Her hopes for a better 2021 are simple: Arntz would like again to see her mom, who lives in a long-term care facility and survived COVID-19 early on in the pandemic. And she’d like to go on vacation once COVID-19 cases subside.

Comments: (319) 398-8494; marissa.payne@thegazette.com

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