Posts Tagged ‘tornado’

Waiting For a Tornado

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

On Saturday we spent all morning waiting for a so-called “massive storm system” to come and scrapped our outdoor plans for the day.  By 230pm we were glued to the TV as the storm approached our county and a large tornado had been spotted on the ground. 

Hmmm… the flashing banner on the bottom of the TV screen said we had been upgraded from a tornado watch to a tornado warning.  The tornado was southwest of the city and headed to Raleigh.  Then news came of other tornadoes and the tornado cells seemed to be headed straight for us.  The meteorologists tracking the storm said that the residents of Raleigh were in imminent danger and that we should take cover now.  And then the power went out…

With the words “…extremely dangerous and life threatening situation” echoing in our heads, the hubby and I switched into autopilot.  We gathered up all the cushions from the couch and lined the tub of our guest bathroom, which is located in the direct center of our house away from all exterior walls.  We already had our emergency lighting handy and we rounded up the kids to put them in the tub.  Our battery powered radio has a programmed emergency weather channel and we listened as the alerts rolled off for one tornado after another.

The hubby grabbed our important papers, I got several wool blankets, we hauled in the emergency kit, and pulled on shoes.  Then we waited.

Darkness descended very rapidly around the house.  We were already without lights, but could faintly see from the sunlight coming through the windows.  Within minutes, it was dark – very dark – and the storm hit us.  Rain pounded down on the house and the wind whipped it sideways into the windows.  We could hear cracking and snapping as branches around us broke.  Occasionally, there was a loud bang or crunching noise, but no freight train roared by our house.

The brunt of the storm passed over us within 15 minutes – it was moving fast – and just like that, it was over.  The sun was back, the wind died down, and the rain steadily dropped from the sky. 

The house was warm, muggy and humid.  The kids played in the living room, while the hubby went out to assess the situation.  Luckily, we were spared any damage.  Our neighbors had a few fallen branches and one down the street had his porch crushed by a tree.  

The hubby drove out to find ice in hopes that we could save some food from the fridge in our cooler (I had JUST gone grocery shopping the day before the storm).  He reported that all the traffic lights were out on the main artery and that there was no power for miles.  Sirens were heard nonstop for probably 2 – 3 hours as emergency crews were dealing with one thing after another.

As night approached, we broke out the candles.  Luckily, I’m a candle freak and have dozens upon dozens of them!  Without electricity, the neighborhood was eerily quiet and dark.  As the hours passed by, we sat and talked with each other. 

We worried about looters and robbers breaking in to our house.  We worried about all our food in our chest freezer going bad.  We worried about the kids waking up into pitch blackness and silence and being scared.  On the other hand, we were grateful that we were passed over.  We were proud that the kids were unaffected by the drama and were sleeping peacefully in their beds.  The electricity thankfully came back on around 3am.

Ninety-three tornado sightings were reported in NC Saturday.  Several of them were in Raleigh.  We found out today that a tornado had touched down a mile away, on the other side of the main thoroughfare, and had killed 3 children.  The kids, ages 3 – 9, were put into the bathtub for safe keeping and a tree fell on their home.  A 6 month old baby girl suffered head injuries and is in critical condition today.  My heart breaks for that family.

We were lucky this weekend.  The hubby spent today cleaning up debris outside.  I took the opportunity to clean the fridge really, really good before I put back what we had saved in the cooler.  My poor garden was flattened and I spent some time gingerly digging lettuce leaves out of the mud…life goes on.

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