Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A storm to be remembered

We were at the mall when it hit. We shouldn’t have been there because we saw the big black storm clouds forming to the south, but even though it has rained every night for the past two weeks, the rain usually doesn’t start until after 8:00 pm. The mall is only two blocks from our house so we thought we had time. We didn’t.

This rain was much different from the others. Not only did it start earlier, but there was thunder and lightning; the first time I have seen/heard that in nine years in Chiclayo. And the rain was torrential with a wind driving it. People in the mall quickly sought shelter. Only about one-third of the mall is covered, the rest is open. We took shelter under the covered section, and really just marveled, like everyone else at the intensity of the storm. I haven’t seen anything like it since I left Wisconsin. Everyone had their cell phones out, taking photos and videos.

One half hour later the rain had not lessened. We were all of us waiting for a lull so we could leave, when a woman in a nearby store screamed. We could see that water was coming from the roof in buckets, as if the roof had collapsed. Two employees grabbed brooms and tried to sweep the water outside the store but there was no way they could keep up. Soon everyone just stood and watched…there was nothing anyone could do.

Shortly after that a woman started shouting to the crowd. I don’t know if she was frightened or just plain fed up with the weather, but she told the crowd that we had to pray; we had to ask God to stop the rain. When no one responded, I heard her softly praying/chanting, “No more rain God, please, no more rain.”

When it became apparent the rain wasn’t going to stop people started leaving as did we. We were soaked to the skin when we got home. We had left all of our windows open but we lucked out; there were only a few small puddles under two of the windows.

As I type this the mall is closed and the rain has nearly stopped, after a three-hour downpour. The streets and sidewalks are flooded. Many of our neighbors are removing water from their roofs and houses, as they’ve done for nearly every day the past two weeks. The mall will probably be closed tomorrow but if not I’ll be curious to see what damage was done. I’d be very surprised if only that one store sustained damage.

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