Spent my day in North Minneapolis working with residents to chop and remove trees and debris from their yards, roofs...
The damage is astounding and it goes on for MILES. Though I wish there were no fatalities at all, it's astounding to think there was only one. My heart goes out to everybody across the Midwest as I know Minneapolis was not the only area hit.
I didn't take too many pictures because not only were we busy, it seemed really weird and spectacle-like to do so... Besides, there were/are already a lot of pictures flying around and there are sure to be more.
I did snap a few of the crew I was working with, because it was an amazing team.
There was a tree leaning precariously on this house before we started - but some of our volunteers who were excellently skilled helped chainsaw off the dangerous branches and fell the tree properly so as not to further damage the house or injure anybody nearby. The tree was chopped up and the yard cleaned. We continued this process along with the residents for several city blocks, and people were still working when I left.
As we drove out of the area (carefully and winding-ly) it was stunning how much work is still going to have to happen. It's going to take the work of the entire community to even begin to approach "normal." Even by the time we left, after city crews and volunteers had been working all day, there were still streets completely impassable.
But you don't have to be good with a chainsaw to make a difference, there are other ways you can help:
1) Please donate
The organizations on the ground have said that funds, not goods, are most helpful at this time and will be to address immediately and changing needs, as well as long-term recovery.
North Minneapolis Recovery: http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Northminneapolisrecovery
2) Ongoing cleanup in the area
This is going to take a while, folks. Stay abreast of when and where volunteers are needed. This info sheet has some ongoing information for groups that are on the ground now and will be on the ground over the next few days/weeks: http://bit.ly/lghx4R
3) Please be careful
If you do volunteer - downed power lines and branches, even if the power is off in the area, are still a horrible trip hazard. There is debris, nails sticking up from shingles and roofing tiles, not to mention yards full of scattered, shattered glass. If you're volunteering to help with cleanup - watch where you're walking, what you're pulling, and who is around you.