Tuesday, May 10, 2016

December 26, 2015 Tornado

I never thought I’d be back here writing about a tornado hitting MY town, ever again. It happened once when I was 12, the odds of another one hitting me, or my neighborhood, are zero to none. Although I was on vacation during the Wichita Falls storm in 1979 (so long ago), my brother was there and I felt something then I have never felt again since. Well, until December 26th, 2015… when another tornado hit MY neighborhood. The feeling was - FEAR. The fear was death. L I honestly thought we were going to die. So it’s shocking to believe it could happen again. But it did. I can’t decide now if the odds for me are good because it’s happened twice and really shouldn’t happen again, or bad because I’m cursed and I seem to be attracting them. L Is it possible? But nonetheless it happened. I have been putting off writing this one, because it hurts my stomach to think about it. Reliving the details is going to make me sick literally. And I have lots of pictures and even saved every text message which I plan to share all here. Strangely I am too scared or uninterested in sharing this on any normal social media site. I like this space though, because I can write real things and feel confident that critics are not reading it. I do hope that when I die, my kids will find this and realize that they can read to understand who I truly was. Kind of funny that my real self is floating out here on the internet, but completely and absolutely obscure from the world. But I’m getting off topic.

I’m not going to write the whole thing. I’ll summarize, and let the photographs do the work for me. And I prefer pictures anyway. So here goes.

Christmas Day = 100% normal

Morning after Christmas – Madison and I head to Target for after-Christmas sales. The weather was muggy and sunny. Really hot for December and I recall thinking this is odd. I recall thinking it didn’t feel right. I recall it so specifically that remember WHERE I thought it. I thought it in the parking lot.

Mid-Afternoon December 26th - The weatherman is saying look out, conditions are PERFECT for tornados tonight.

Late afternoon – I am nervous because I have to drive Blake and Kerwin to the airport at the exact time the bad weather is supposed to start. Right now it’s hard to believe we will have storms because it’s perfectly clear and very hot outside. Weatherman is saying be on alert – it’s coming.

Time to go – I am very very nervous. But the weatherman has made me that way and I don’t think it’s gonna be that bad. Storms are beginning to fire up southwest of Dallas, but that’s so far away… I think it’s safe to go and leave Madison and Connor alone.

Half-way to the airport sky is turning green, gray and black with night. Weatherman is saying tornados will develop, it’s a perfect storm. We are closely watching the track but there is a plane to catch for a New Year’s soccer tournament at Disneyworld in Florida. No choice but to go.

Closing in on airport and realizing storm is heading directly to the airport. Arrive at airport and attendant comes outside to say “everyone inside we are taking cover – tornado on the ground heading this way.” Kerwin says to me – don’t stay here it’s safer to go home and head north, avoiding the storm coming from the south, so go now. I called the kids.

They run inside and I pull away shaking. My hands were shaking. I couldn’t talk. It was dark, there could be a tornado anywhere I could be driving directly into it and not know. Sirens are going off all around me. I had to focus on heading north. Driving for an eternity going north and the weatherman is saying at every location “tornado on the ground in North Dallas take cover!” then I get to Richardson.. “tornado on the ground in Richardson TAKE COVER!” And sirens everywhere. Terrified, I kept driving.

Drove the 45 + miles home. Walked in the house crying but relieved to beat the storm. But then on the news – BEEP BEEP BEEP – NO WAY - Tornado warning for Rowlett TAKE COVER! Tornado on the ground in Rowlett on Miller Road heading East (that’s a couple miles from us and heading our way). The storm had apparently split into two, and one section came east to us while other one went west, to the airport. We grabbed the dogs and ran into the laundry room with Madison’s laptop and Connor who had the flu. The dogs were surprisingly cooperative and I think they knew. But there we went, and waited. And waited. I was so scared and Madison was joking and lighthearted. She wasn’t acting scared at all and I’m still so proud of her. Meanwhile I could hear my heart beating outside my chest and I was breathing out loud. Connor is laying on the floor sick with the flu. Then… oh no - ZOOOOOM the power went out. OMG. The power went out. A tornado was heading towards us. We had no way of knowing where it was and the phones were out too. So then I began praying out loud. I could hardly breathe. Then we heard it. A thousand banging bats and hammers hitting our house BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG it was relentless. And so fast. Just repeated banging. We did hear the train. The consistent banging was the train that people says they hear when a tornado comes. The choo choo choo choo sound. Hard to describe here. But we heard it so loudly. Then suddenly silence. And we didn’t know – was it gone? We waited and waited. Then a knock on the door – our neighbor came to check on us and tell us to come out – it was ok. I trusted him but still shaking we walked out front and couldn’t believe our eyes. It was dark, but we could see debris all over the yard and street. Shingles and pieces of fence right outside our door. It was crazzyyy. We had just lived through a tornado. All the power was out. All the neighbors were standing about shocked and wondering. In case you’re wondering, Kerwin and Blake were fine, but had to sleep on the floor at the airport as all the flights were cancelled. We lived through a tornado. So I will end here and move to the photos. What a day.