Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tornado Alley

I foolishly put off blogging on Wednesday because I was finishing a manuscript and all I could think about was said manuscript. Hopefully, I'll think of something to blog about by tomorrow, I hoped.

I think I hoped too hard. Tomorrow has come and with it, a majorly intense blog theme--high winds and tornadoes!

The sirens went off at 5 a.m. this morning just as we lost power. For the first time in our lives, we grabbed the kids and headed for the storm shelter we had dug under our garage floor about seven years ago. That is an almost unreal feeling, huddling together, listening to the winds howl just outside the garage door (which suddenly seemed very flimsy), feeling the kids shake, hearing the dog pant, and seeing nothing but pitch blackness.

Fortunately, we came out unscathed and the house is still standing, but in a direct line with our house, only a street away, three huge, 150 year old trees were ripped out of the ground and laid crosswise across the road and front lawns of our neighbors. They missed the houses, by inches, but still, they missed.

And these were, theoretically, only high winds. I have a feeling someone at the weather station missed a rotation, but who knows. I'm just glad we're all still standing.

I have experienced a tornado once before in my life--right behind my car as I was driving home. I wouldn't suggest trying this at home. I had just returned from Houston and had spent the better part of an hour in a holding pattern over Tulsa until the storm moved out. The landing was super bumpy, but okay. I hopped in my car to head home. Minutes from my house, the storm, which had abated, revved back up. Hail pummeled down. The sky was pitch black. And behind me I heard the sound of a jet engine. I have never been so scared in all of my life. I was right next to the river, where tornadoes like to strike in this area. I could barely see anything, the rain was falling so hard. By the time I got home, I was shaking. I think I know how Dorothy felt now.  

If you're looking for a little weather excitement, look no further. Oklahoma is the place to be. Me? I'd settle for calm and sunny right now. I've had about all the excitement I'd can handle for a while, but oh the story ideas!


Tabitha said...

I grew up in central Illinois, which is also in tornado alley. We had one or two close calls, and those experiences are *seared* into my brain. Tornados are just freakin scary.

Glad you and yours are okay, and that no serious damage was done. At least, in your area.

Bee said...

It sounds odd to write that I'm glad you only had a scare . . . but I think that you know what I mean.

A branch of our family lives in West Texas -- another well-known tornado path. My mother tells the story of the year that a tornado wiped out my great-grandparents' house the day after everyone had been there for a family reunion.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm glad you're safe! That's a close call! My husband's company was unscathed 2 years ago when a tornado suddenly veered across the road and took out the warehouse directly opposite their building. What were the odds?

Stacy Nyikos said...

Thanks, everybody. I feel lucky, but we've got a new batch of crazy weather that moved in today and plans on hanging around for a bit. I guess it's just going to be "one of those" Mays.